Released by: Frontiers Records
Release Date: June 6th, 2014
Genre: Melodic Rock
Jack Blades (bass guitar, vocals
Kelly Keagy (drums, vocals)
Brad Gillis (lead & rhythm guitars)
Joel Hoekstra (lead & rhythm guitars)
Eric Levy (keyboards)
01. High Road
02. Knock Knock Never Stop
03. Rollin’ On
04. Don’t Live Here Anymore
05. I’m Coming Home
06. X Generation
07. Only For You Only
08. Hang On
09. St. Bartholomews
11. L.A. No Name (Bonus Track)
Another institution in Rock is about to release a new album these days: the new effort from the American arena-rockers Night Ranger is called “High Road” and singer Jack Blades describes it as the perfect summer feel-good record. Their last album “Somewhere In California” was released three years ago and had everything a Night Ranger fan could ask for.
Night Ranger belong to those kind of bands, who create always new material without leaving their roots out of sight. Maybe that’s why they don’t get much airplay anymore with their “old-fashioned” music, but what is more important: with each new album they please every fan. Nearly every record is pure fan service and so it is no wonder that “High Road” comes along with all the Night Ranger trademarks, like very melodic vocal lines, catchy arena-rock songs with big hooks, dreamy ballads and a fantastic positive vibe. So I think we don’t need to talk much more about style here. “High Road” is the logical continuation of “Somewhere In California”.
The title track pulls you right into this great feel-good-mood. It’s a pretty good song to start this album and leaves you hungry for more. “Knock Knock Never Stop” and especially “Rollin’ On” shows the band from their more rockin’ side. Here you’ll find lots of groove mixed up with some true earworm-choruses to sing-along for days.
With “Don’t Live Here Anymore” the first ballad comes in and this is the first track that couldn’t convince me that much. It has a more complex approach, but that slows down the fun. With the second ballad “Only For You Only” the band shows how a great ballad should be done. This song features a beautiful melody and it never sounds too cheesy and has enough edges and power. This is due to the excellent guitar work by Brad Gillis and Joel Hoekstra. The guitar solos on this album are just perfect – they kick much ass and are so melodic at the same time. It’s a pleasure to hear these guys play. If you need another example for their skills, just check out the anthem “I’m Coming Home”.
Huge credits go also to singer Jack Blades, who still sounds fantastic. It never gets boring when you are listening to his voice. He is a very flexible singer, on each song he sounds a bit different. Just listen to “St. Baratholomews”. Here I thought I would listen to an Aerosmith song, because his vocal performance is very close to Steven Tyler’s singing style on this one.
So far, so good. The last two tracks are also solid, but they can’t keep up with the rest of the album. This is the reason why it is a really good one to me, but not an album that would blow my mind. “Brothers” is another more calm song which has this kind of pub feeling in it and “L.A. No Name” is a pure instrumental track, where the guys demonstrate their skills on the guitar again. Sadly both tracks can’t build up much tension, so they just passed me by. But beside this you won’t find anything to complain about on this album. The production is up to date and it feels like the band had much fun to record this album.
So in the end Night Ranger deliver again a really good Melodic Hard Rock album with tons of hooks. “High Road” shows the band from their best side and the fans will be grateful for Night Ranger’s consistency in making quality music. Summer is here and if you are looking for the perfect soundtrack you can’t go wrong with “High Road”.
Written by Thomas