Most Rock fans are aware of the history of Steve Walsh and his time as the vocalist in the brilliant Kansas singing on their biggest recordings including “Carry On My Wayward Son” and “Dust In The Wind”. He left the band in 2014 and “Black Butterfly” is his first release since, although he did record four previous solo albums.
Steve Walsh is famous for his passionate, strong and clear vocals so its a surprise he sings on only 9 of the 12 tracks. The other three are voiced ably by guest vocalist Jerome Mazza (Pinnacle Point). Backing vocals are unmistakably provided by Prog legend Steve Overland (FM) and, overall, the vocal sound works very well. A special mention goes to Tommy Denander for his excellent guitar work throughout elevating the album from Pop-Rock to an overall heavier edge.
The 12 songs on offer are exactly what you would expect from such a well known and legendary member of the Rock establishment. “Born On Fire” opens the album with intent and has a particularly memorable hook which I was humming for the remainder of the day! The rest of the album follows suit and is both heavy and light at the right times. The songwriting from both Walsh and Denander is full of hooks and the musicianship is excellent and the whole album grows on the listener with each spin.
After retiring from Kansas, I am hoping there will be more music from this legend in the future before he truly hangs up the microphone for good.
21 Octayne is an interesting proposition on paper. Featuring what could be best described as an all-star ‘supporting cast’ line-up who’s collective CV includes stints with the Joe Perry Project, Paul Gilbert, Axxis and Rhapsody, they’re not so much a super-group as a ‘worked-with-the-super-in-a-group’. Into The Open then, is their debut album, and a fine one it is too. In a nutshell, it is hard-driving, straight ahead hard rock with a metal edge. It’s as if Steve Vai has teamed up with the Winery Dogs at an audition for Audioslave.
I first came across Jorn in the masterpiece album from Ark titled Burn The Sun which to this day I consider one of the best prog hard rock albums of all time. Since then of course Lande has been involved in many other projects mentioned above and then there is his solo stuff, while still solid and rocking to his true nature, some of his solo stuff has just never blown me away like his work with Masterplan and Ark…