Album Reviews

Toby Hitchcock – Mercury’s Down

Released by Frontiers Records

Release Date: August 23rd, 2011

Genre: Melodic Hard Rock

Links: http://www.facebook.com/people/Toby-Hitchcock/507476651


Line Up:

Toby Hitchcock – Lead Vocals

Erik Martensson – All Instruments

Produced and written by Erik Martensson


Tracklist:

1. This Is The Moment

2. Strong Enough

3. How To Stop

4. Let Go

5. One Day I’ll Stop Loving You

6. I Should Have Said

7. If It’s To Be (It’s Up To Me)

8. Just Say Goodbye

9. Summer Nights In Cabo

10. Tear Down The Barricades

11. A Different Drum

12. Mercury’s Down

When it comes to hidden talent and underrated power vocalists around the genre of Melodic Rock and AOR, the name of Toby Hitchcock should come to someones mind who is familiar with this style of music. The man most famously known with being the front man of the band that former Survivor great Jim Peterik assign to take over vocals when he marked his comeback to the AOR scene in Pride of Lions.

Toby been meticulously and patiently working on his solo record  over the past year with another one of those talented songwriters and producers that Frontiers Records has in it’s arsenal and Erik Martensson. Most notably known for the amazing melodic and explosive power pipes, Hitchock decided to partake in this solo offering which features his voice surrounding himself into a more hard rock and heavier overall expiation, crossing new ground that we have never heard from his vocal ability, but one for sure that was bound to be explored in the not too distant future.

One thing I was worried about was the capacity of the songwriting on this solo effort, Martensson (Eclipse), who’s wonderful work on the Jeff Scott Soto lead project of W.E.T about a year ago, decided to team up with Hitchcock under the suggestion of President of Frontiers Records Serafino Perugino. My biggest thing was trying not to compare the songwriting skills between Martensson and Peterik, who’s obvious experience is unmatched with years of excellent records in Survivor amongst other projects.

Regardless of the writing which is fine here on this release, I expected a nice and overall vigorous effort by an up and coming vocalist of this caliber. His first single titled “This Is The Moment” comes with what you would expect from a polished musician, a strong overall chorus and tight back end modern rhythm leads the charge on this nice choice for a single. Another super charged chorus in the number “Let Go” climbs it’s way forward on what is possibly Toby’s best vocal job on the entire album. My favorite cut comes in the heavy hitting lyrical ballad of “One Day I’ll Stop Loving You”, which packs a thunderous backbone chorus mixed with a nice piano lead, also a nice job of the layer background vocals adding a stronger punch to this already outstanding track. The Journey-esque track “Just Say Goodbye” climbs a higher state melodic ecstasy once more, making it another standout. The best guitar solo screams out in piercing passion on the explosive action in the speed burner of “Tear Down The Barricades” which reminds me more and more of some songs from the W.E.T record.

The second time around spinning this one picks up more steam then the first few times, it’s definitely a grower and in a similar styling as the W.E.T project which ended up being a total package delivered as one of the best Melodic Rock releases of 2010. Erik Martensson does a nice job on the production level, is no surprise why he’s in such high demand, which in essence makes me crave for more Eclipse material in the future. I can’t have enough admiration for Hitchcock as he’s voice is aspiring and the main focus of this solo record making the album flow steady without many hiccups. Now for those wondering where the album falls in terms of style, you still have your typical AOR style but harder, in a way is a more heavy hitting Pride of Lions, mixed in with more traditional Melodic Hard Rock material that is typical in the Scandanavia Rock genre. Close up this one with a stronghold of melodies and power house vocals which I already expected from a stout vocalist, the musicianship is solid even though Erik handles all the instruments. This record is more of what I had expected and for fans of Pride of Lions and Melodic Rock in general, there is much to admire here. By the way stay tuned for the new Pride of Lions record coming in 2012…….

Written by Denys

Ratings Denys    8/10

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