Album Reviews

Saracen – Marylin Review

Released by: Escape Music

Release Date: September 23rd, 2011

Genre: Melodic Hard Rock


Line Up:

Steve Bettney – vocals

Paul Bradder – keyboards

Richard Bendelow – bass vocals

Paul Gibson – drums

Rob Bendelow – guitar

Snake Davis Saxophone


01. Norma Jeane

02. Whither the Wind Blows

03. Hold On (Issa)

04. Make This Body Work (Robin Beck)

05. Who Am I (Beck & Overland)

06. Love Like A Razorblade

07. Break the Spell

08. Not For Sure (Robin Beck)

09. Like Going Home (Robin Beck)

10. Unfinished Life

11. Marilyn (Robin Beck)

A concept album revolving around the life and times of Hollywood icon Marylin Monroe? I didn’t know how exactly this would all come to the forefront from a band that plays Melodic Rock with Progressive Rock elements, but to my surprise the effort is a fair chance at creating something unique, and as we all know concept albums are not all that easy to digest so that in itself falls in the “interesting” category.

The line up here features some very good guess vocalists such as the lady of Melodic Rock Robin Beck, along with Norwegian rock sensation Issa and ‘FM’ frontman Steve Overland. Issa handles the lead vocals on ‘Hold On’, whilst Steve & Robin intertwine beautifully on ‘Who Am I?’ The core of the line up is still composed of guitar man Richard Bendelow and the vocals, Steve Bettney – vocals / Paul Bradder – keyboards / Richard Bendelow – bass, vocals / Paul Gibson.

To describe the music here would be somewhat an intricate task, I want to compare the overall structure of the music somewhat resembling some of the softer material from Gary Hughes and TEN, but really the music falls into place on it’s own. The elements of the saxophone in certain songs adds a new layer of smoothness, and are provided by the very well known sax man Snake Davis who has played with some of the biggest musicians in the world.

As we open the album we hear Bettney singing a nice melodic chorus in “Wither The Wind Blows”, this one leads way into “Hold On”, where Issa takes over the vocal duties a song which I felt was too short, I was expecting to belt into a super melodic solo, but It ended and was waiting for more.

The vocal duet between Beck and FM vocalist Steve Overland is has a nice touch, with a main focus on the tranquilizing vocals of these two talented singers. The tempo changer here has the guide the vocals through a roller-coaster of emotions, one of the best tracks on the album for sure. I don’t know why but the laden and groovy progressive tune “Love Like A Razorblade” reminds me of old school Pink Floyd, a cunning little tune with some nice guitar licks.

As far as the regular vocals goes, Steve Bettney does a very nice job handling the vocal duties, and Rob Bendelow does a crisp job handling the guitar duties. I can’t really say I focused too much on the writing as is just average for my liking. The true clue of what holds the sound together is the guest vocals and once again Robin Beck sings her heart out like she usually does handling 5 of the songs on here and portraying the Marylin character. An interesting Symphonic Rock album with some key vocal powerhouses involved.

Written by Denys

Ratings Denys   8/10

Tell Us How You Feel