Released by: Fastball Music
Release Date: Out Now!!!
Genre: Melodic Rock
David Reece (ex-Accept, Bangalore Choir) – Tracks 3, 5, 9 & 11
Leon Goewie (Vengeance) – Tracks 2 & 7
Paul Shortino (ex-Quiet Riot, Rough Cutt, King Kobra) – Tracks 1 & 12
Michael Voss (ex-Mad Max, Michael Schenker, Casanova) – Tracks 4, 8 & 10
01. Too Young
02. The Higher They Climb
03. The Price Of Love
04. Blue Butterfly Day
05. Love Crash
06. Out Of My Head
07. In And Outta Love
08. Half That Man
09. That’s My Name
10. Roll On
11. Love Is Fire
I approached THE HIGHER THEY CLIMB the same way I approach all “project” releases in the melodic rock world…With nervous, hopeful anticipation and a realistic expectation for the mediocre and mundane. And what do you know, the CHRISTIAN TOLLE PROJECT has ticked all of these boxes down to a tee. Often with these type of releases, those involved have spent minimal time on their contributions and this one is no different.
Christian Tolle himself may not be your average household name, but the German guitarist/songwriter had been making his mark in the melodic rock world for a while now and has been involved with albums from such luminaries as DAVID REECE, REECE KRONLUND, BANGALORE CHOIR, VENGEANCE, COOPER INC. and AOR to name a few. He has also been releasing albums under his CHRISTIAN TOLLE PROJECT moniker for a while now, with THE HIGHER THEY CLIMB being the latest release. This time around he has gathered together a few well-respected names to lay down the vocals, we’re talking guys like DAVID REECE, MICHAEL VOSS, PAUL SHORTINO and LEON GOEWIE. So, all things in place to make a great record one would think, but unfortunately there is one big shining elephant in the room… The songwriting itself is pretty sub-par when compared to the big players in the game. It’s definitely not awful, and there are a few moments where everything comes together in an impressive fashion, but overall it’s a little bland and unexciting. I also feel that the great line-up of vocalists here have all put down much better efforts in the past and out of them all it only really feels like MICHAEL VOSS gave it a real crack.
What that means in the long run is that the three tracks the Voss gets to sing BLUE BUTTERFLY DAY, HALF THAT MAN and ROLL ON are the best of the bunch and it really feels like Christian Tolle should have employed Voss to front the entire album. I will say though that VENGEANCE frontman Leon Goewie does a pretty good job with IN AND OUTTA LOVE.
Christian Tolle has been plodding along in melodic rock circles for a while now, and it feels like THE HIGHER THEY CLIMB is a bit of a missed opportunity. Having a bunch of singers like these guys at your disposal, and having Michael Voss working in your corner is something that really should have ended up as something grander than this, hopefully Tolle himself keeps working on his songwriting , and if he is to release another album under the project moniker maybe keeping one single high-profile vocalist all the way through would result in a more cohesive and enjoyable effort.
Written by Zeezee