Release Date: May 13 2016
Genre: Melodic Rock
Label: Frontiers Music Srl
- Let’s Start Something
- Everything We Are
- Hands Of Love
- The Perfect Crime
- Where I Lost You
- You Won’t See Me Cryin’
- We Are Young
- Beneath The Stars
Ted Poley: Lead Vocals
Issa: duet vocal on “The Perfect Crime”
Alessandro Del Vecchio: Drums, Keyboards, Backing Vocals
Mario Percudani: Guitar
Anna Portalupi: Bass
Metal music has had numerous sub-genres through the ages, each with its niche audience and some more palpable to mass audiences than others. One such sub-genre to emerge back in the late 70’s early 80’s was Glam Metal. Also referred to as American Hard Rock or Hair Metal amongst other popular tags, depending on which version of rock history you subscribe to, the sub-genre was readily identifiable with its melodic structure, lyrical hooks and sweet shredding guitars overlaid with a healthy dose of keyboards. Refining the look popularised by the Glam rockers of the previous decade, bands sported big hair-dos, tight fitting jeans and sleeveless leather vests or bare chested front men. The power ballad nature of songs at the time enjoyed huge popularity with fans and music lovers, starting out in Los Angeles and New York before it spread to Europe in the early 80’s and through to the 90’s. Lyrics focused on themes of lust and desire particularly fixated on the quintessential “one”. The sub-genre also enjoyed lots of press on account of its sinful lifestyle involving sex, drugs and late night parties; something that eventually contributed to its decline along with the fading appreciation for power ballads. Today the musical style remains dear to those early fans that experienced the sub-culture in its entirety and were thus, hooked for life on both the music and the images it portrayed.
While the lifestyle of yesteryear’s Glam Metal is unlikely to achieve the soaring heights it once did, fans can take solace in the fact that some of the old guard are still at it; recording music and albums that they still feel passionately about. Danger Danger front man [with nothing forthcoming since 2009 aside from festival appearances and The Defiants album also out, is there a Danger Danger any more? : Editor] , Ted Poley has done just that with his upcoming album, Beyond The Fade, where Poley has collaborated with long-time friend and musician Alessandro Del Vecchio to record a 80’s Glam Metal album with the same passion as when he recorded Naughty Naughty.
The album cover, featuring an astronaut standing on the moon staring at a stacked set of full frame TV sets from back in the 60’s with an image of the earth in the background, is suggestive of a look back at the past that the music captures. The opening track bursts into a sweet but simple guitar riff with distorted bends that instantly elicit a euphoric response in the listener and continue to do so as they repeat, in variation, through the song. Coupled with the hook of the upbeat lyrics “Let’s go, lets start something” form an ideal introductory track to an album which is a shout out to what the sub-genre once was. The track encompasses various elements that fans looked for back in the 80’s, including the ballad type feel, the signature keyboard sound filling the spaces in the verse and a fast paced lead full of hammer-ons and fret tapping building into a high energy fade out.
Another telling feature of the sub-genre is the use of the harmonised vocals through the album. Tracks like Everything We Are, Stars and others on the album have choruses filled with harmonised vocal which make for a big stadium rock sound which so many of the Glam bands of the past were ambassadors for.
The album has continued to be true to the guitar extravagance of the 80’s that was perhaps the most metal part of the Glam Metal movement. The use of reverse delay on Hands of Love sees Mario Percudani belt out some special guitar riffs both at the start of the song as well as towards the end where his multi-octave spanning solo sets up an epic ending for the chorus with his shredding guitar filling the background as the song fades. Equally, the blinding solos on Where I Lost You, just as the vocals end their melody, give fans a chance to relive familiar structures consisting of a hundred notes a second dotted with pinch harmonics and five fret bends.
The Perfect Crime is perhaps the closest to the ballad structure with Issa’s strong vocals singing a duet with Ted’s lead vocals, setting up a solo which allows for both singers to up the key on the chorus and showcase their vocal tango. A brave attempt at such a collaborative delivery and in contrast to the rest of the album but one can say the two voices do justice to the composition for what it is.
Perhaps the most standout track on the album is You Won’t See Me Cryin’ with its signature harmonised guitar riffs and fader loaded guitar strums which allow the vocals to deliver a strong melody over the spatial music of the verse. From the interlude after the first chorus, Mario’s fingers relentlessly attack the fret board with melodic runs which carry through to the second solo which has a distinctly biting tone delivered with the utmost energy.
Overall, the arrangement on the album is extremely tight, in large part a testament to the band that Alessandro put together for this project as well as the production that both he and Ted have put into each of the tracks. For the style of music, there is nothing on the album which one could find lacking, excessive or misplaced which in itself makes for a great listen, even if the style of music is not your thing. Along with that, the album does seem to, in some songs, move away from the more popular lyrical themes of early 90’s Glam Metal yet firmly maintains the musical elements of the sub-genre with all the critical elements that defined the sound i.e. the stadium drums, the distinctive synthesised keyboards tone, the harmonised vocals and not to forget the wailing supersonics of the guitars. All that being said, the album doesn’t have a unique sound that sets it apart from those produced by contemporaries such as Britny Fox or Firehouse back in the day. Some of that may just be down to the fact that most bands from the sub-genre used the same formulae to write their songs thus making it difficult to tell a bands apart. Nonetheless, Ted Poley is perhaps one of a handful of musicians still writing music in this style so this may well be one of the few such new albums of music created during the year.
Review: Karan Dutta