Album Reviews

Places of Power – Now is the Hour

Released by Frontiers Records – 2009

Review Added September 21, 2009

. Produced: Dennis Ward
· Running Time: 58:17
· Release Date: January 23, 2009
· Musical Style: Melodic Hard Rock/AOR
· Links:
1. In your Wildest Dreams**
2. Make Me Believe
3. Desires Of Our Hearts**
4. One Day**
5. I Live For You**
6. Secrets
7. The Passage**
8. Always
9. Hard To Love You**
10. Light Of My World
11. Path Of Least Resistance
12. Places Of Power
**Hot Tracks

* Philip Bardowell – lead vocals
* Bruce Turgon – guitar, backing vocals, bass and drums
* Scott McKinstry – lead guitar

If consistency is derived from the word “solid” or “steady”, then there hasn’t been many music labels out there which are delivering so much great material in the melodic rock and aor world like Frontiers Records, and evidence of this feat is new outfit Places of Power, they always manage to get some supergroup to come together with highly skilled musicians and make great music, and this is exactly the case with Places of Power’s debut “Now Is The Hour”. As a long time rock fan myself, I always search for that one album that just grabs you from the very beginning and keeps you so involved in the music that is hard to deny it’s power, well this one just happens fall in that category. POP are the brainchild of Bruce Turgon (former Foreigner, Shadowking, Lou Gramm) and the very talented Phillip Bardowell (Unruly Child, Criss). The two of them had previously released solo material for Frontiers before and had recieved some well deserved recognition for their material, and peaked interests of many fans and producers in the genre, so I suppose it comes to no surprise that the production duties we’re given to master guru Dennis Ward (of Pink Cream 69 and producer of Place Vendome, Sunstorm, Bob Catley, Angra, Krokus etc.)

As we break down some of the excellent compositions, one trait that immediately comes to mind is the amazing voice of Bardowell which many Foreigner fans will surely recognize since his voice has an uncanny resemblance to Lou Graham former Foreigner vocalist, and this is so evident on the first track “In Your Wildest Dreams” with some off the chart melodic hooks that wail down to your very soul. I’m enticed to be instantly reminded of some great AOR bands from recent years like Pride Of Lions for instance comes to mind when listening to “Desires Of Our Hearts”, they use that great formula to melt your ears with some catchy lyrics and backed with some majestic keyboards that adds to the full sensation and holds true to the genre. It would be very difficult to breakdown every track as each one has something special to offer, the jive rhythm and section “One Day”explodes with a nice stop and go bass line and has Bardowell kicking out another jam with a strong performance, it manages to stay heavy all around and with a soulful solo as it tops one of the many infectious songs on the record. The ballad “I Live For You” hits the spot right on cue in which I am reminded of some classic Jeff Scott Soto material, everytime I listen to it I find new things i like about it. Maintaining the momentum strong is “The Passage” offers some vintage AOR backing vocals and the chrorus is so addictive it will have you singing along throughout it’s duration. This magnificent record doesn’t loose any passion as the hard work and the tight production shows in some of the other prime cuts such as “Hard To Love You” and “Always”.

Once again another highly regarded title slides out via Frontiers and could quite possibly end up as one of the strongest they have ever released. Both the guidance and skilled musicianship of the veteran Turgon and the talented voice of Bardowell will no doubt impress anybody who has had the chance to listen to this one. One of my personal favorites of the year in the AOR field and I’m hoping that they keep on releasing material via Frontiers, wether it will be under the “Places Of Power” moniker, who knows really, but such great music needs to respected and appreciated. I’m handing you a contender for best album of the year and in the top 10 on my list without a question.

Written by Denys

Ratings Denys  8/10

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