Wednesday, September 28, 2011

SEBASTIAN BACH "Kicking And Screaming"

(c) 2011 Frontiers Records

  1. Kicking And Screaming
  2. My Own Worst Enemy
  3. Tunnelvision
  4. Dance On Your Grave
  5. Caught In A Dream
  6. As Long As I've Got The Music
  7. I'm Alive
  8. Dirty Power
  9. Live The Life
  10. Dream Forever
  11. One Good Reason
  12. Lost In The Night
  13. Wishin'
Sebastian Bach--Lead Vocals
Nick Sterling--Lead Guitars, Bass, Backing Vocals
Bobby Jerzombek--Drums, Backing Vocals
John 5--Guitars on "Tunnelvision"

Many people hailed 2007's Angel Down as the return of Bas, although I don't know that he ever really left, to be honest.  Sure, his previous solo effort had been a live album of him covering himself as the lead vocalist of Skid Row, but he also did the very solid Frameshift album Absence Of Empathy, the somewhat under-the-radar DVD Forever Wild, and found himself on numerous tribute albums.  Oh, and there was also that stint starring in "Jesus Christ, Superstar" and several appearances on VH1 shows as a host of various hard rock and heavy metal countdowns.  Not exactly laying low....

If there was one knock on the Angel Down project, it would be that a lot of people felt Bas had abandoned singing in favor of a more screamed vocal style, and that is a fair assessment.  I think that this partly Bach feeling like he had something to prove and partly the fact that he still had a lot of anger and bitterness stored up inside of him, but I also think a lot of people forget that this was something he had been progressing toward as far back as the last Skid Row album.  He appears to be largely over whatever it was that motivated him to sing/scream in that manner, however, as Kicking And Screaming is far more in line with Slave To The Grind-era Sebastian Bach vocals...and it works incredibly well!  In fact, I dare say this is the album that both Bach and Skid Row have each been trying to record since the two camps went their separate ways, as neither has come even close to this performance level since that split.

What makes this album so special, aside from Bas's return to singing, is the introduction of the totally unknown Nick Sterling as guitarist and bassist for this album.  Folks, I don't know here this kid was hiding (and I do mean kid...he's not even half of Bach's 44 years old...), but I can tell you there are a LOT of bands that wish they had found him.  This kid is a whiz on both stringed instruments, with some killer leads and solos scattered throughout the disc, as well as solid rhythm and bass playing to really cement the songs together.  Bach would do well to keep this kid under some kind of contract for future recording efforts because Sterling is a truly gifted player that would seem to still have many years of musical growth and maturation that will supplement his already incredible talents.

As far as the songs go, several have a very Slave-ish feel to them, although with a more modern production sound.  "As Long As I Got The Music" is a prime example of this, and is one particular track where Sterling shines as well.  Other songs, such as the title track and "Tunnelvision" lean more in the modern rock direction while still retaining a strong sense of melody.  Wanting a power ballad or two?  "I'm Alive" fits that bill nicely, and while not a full-fledged lighter-hoister, "Dream Forever" is another slower number that allows Bach to showcase his talents.  "Wishin'" is another slower track that rounds out the disc really well.  For my money, however, Bach is at his best on the faster numbers here, with "One Good Reason", "Dance On Your Grave", and "Dirty Power" all being nice and aggressive while still retaining the types of hooks that sink into your skin and refuse to let go.

A couple of tracks miss ever-so-slightly, at least to me.  "Caught In A Dream" is one that comes to mind.  It isn't that it is a terrible song, and musically, it is actually one of my favorites, but something about Bas' delivery, especially on the chorus, bugs me.  This is the only song that the "whiney" side of Bach's vocals really rears its ugly head.  This has occasionally been a problem in his live performances, even going back to the Skid Row days, but rarely did it find its way onto an album.  This is one of those few times.  "Lost In The Night" is a song that I absolutely love...until the chorus.  This song is smoking, really chugging along...and then the chorus just seems to bog it down somehow.  Maybe more time with this track will change my mind, and by no means does it warrant skipping...I don't know...something about it just seems a bit off, at least for me right now.

There is no doubt this album will crack numerous people's top ten of 2011 lists, mine likely included; a top twenty slot is absolutely guaranteed.  It will be interesting to see if Skid Row attempts to pick up the gauntlet that Bach has thrown down here and step up with a comeback album of their own, but I highly doubt they will be able to come close to this album, as Kicking And Screaming is extremely solid, very entertaining, and full of attitude...something both acts have been missing since saying a not-so-nice goodbye to each other.

Rating:  Crank this baby to 9.

Back To Reviews Index

Saturday, September 24, 2011

HELIX "Skin In The Game EP"

(c) 2011 Sleaze Roxx Music

  1. William Tell Overture
  2. Skin In The Game
  3. The Bitch Is A Bullet
  4. Angelina
  5. Champagne Communist
Brian Vollmer--Lead Vocals
Brent Doerner--Lead Guitars
Kaleb Duck--Guitars
Daryl Gray--Bass, Keyboards
Fritz Hinz--Drums

Okay, I have to admit, I have NO CLUE why Brian Vollmer decided to start out his latest Helix offering with the instrumental "William Tell Overture".  To say that it is a bit bizarre to start off ANY album with an instrumental, let alone an EP that only has five songs, would be an understatement.  However, this oddity perhaps best displays the fact that Vollmer and his band are still doing things their own way, traditions be damned.

Skin In The Game manages to reunite most of the commercially popular 1980's Helix line-up, as Vollmer is joined again by Brent Doerner, Daryl Fray, and Fritz Hinz, with newcomer Kaleb Duck playing second guitar.  As one might expect with this "classic" line-up in place, there is really nothing new that is done in these five tracks to make the listener wonder just who the heck they are listening to.  This EP sounds just like Helix, with Vollmer at times sounding a bit like Dee Snider of Twisted Sister fame, as per his usual sound.  There are no ballads to be found here, with all the songs being mid-to-uptempo rockers.  "Angelina" is the most polished sounding of the tracks here, lending a bit of a classic rock vibe to the effort, but still sounding at home among the rest of the grittier, gruffer sounding cuts.  "Champagne Communist" features some obvious keyboard elements not as present on other songs, and Vollmer backs off a bit on the edginess of his vocals, but even these elements don't detract from the overall classic Helix sound.

If anything, Skin In The Game sounds like it could be a few songs that were left over from the band's last effort, "Vagabond Bones", but I have read elsewhere that this is not the case.  This makes me wonder a bit about why a band with the back catalog of Helix would be releasing an EP at this stage of their career, but, then again, Helix have never really done things the way every other band has, so who am I to question their methods or motives.  Helix still sounds largely like Helix, so if you are a fan, you will likely enjoy this little disc; if not, don't waste your time or cash.

Rating:  Rock this at 6.5...there's nothing earthshaking here, nor is there anything legacy-eroding.

Return To Reviews Index     


(c) 2011 Frontiers Records

  1. Big Money
  2. One Man Down
  3. First To Cry
  4. Someday When
  5. Searchin'
  6. Living In A Dream World
  7. The Next Time I Hold You
  8. Run For Your Life
  9. Hologram
  10. Seven
  11. Once Twice
  12. Blood
James Christian--Lead Vocals
Jimi Bell--Guitars
Chris McCarvill--Bass
BJ Zampa--Drums
Jeff Kent--Keyboard, Bass, Backing Vocals

House Of Lords does very little to surprise anyone whenever they put out a new album.  In fact, the biggest curiousity on an HoL album is who is going to be in the band other than quite possibly the most-underrated vocalist in the hard rock/AOR/melodic metal genre, James Christian.  If you pick up a House Of Lords album you expect strong vocals, above average-to-excellent songwriting, top-notch guitars, and a handful of truly memorable songs.  Big Money is not an exception on any of these fronts, as this is a very strong effort from one of the few bands of the 1980's/early 1990's who still sound almost EXACTLY the same now as they did then.

While I don't particularly care for the intro to the title track, the rest of the song is solid and a good indication of where this album will go, with a driving, up-tempo rhythm, powerful lead vocals, a great little guitar solo, and big, layered choruses.  Track two, "One Man Down" is easily one of my favorites, as it segues from an intro section that will remind many of "Can't Find My Way Home" into a blatantly Zeppelin-esque guitar riff and vibe that carries the last 2/3 of the track.  Killer, killer song, especially considering I am an openly non-fan of Led Zeppelin for the most part.  Elsewhere, songs like "First To Cry", "Seven", and "Run For Your Life" are just like an old, favorite sweatshirt:  incredibly comfortable, well-broken in and perfectly fitting, and so familiar you smile everytime you put it just know this is what you came for when you pulled it out of the closet.  These songs are so purely House Of Lords that, if you are like me, you will feel like you have heard them before while at the same time grinning from ear-to-ear at the thrill of such great new music coming from a band you have loved for so long.

The band does experiment a little bit, with a song like "Hologram" using some minor vocal effects and layering on the chorus, for example, but not to such a degree that you start to wonder if you are listening to an entirely different band.  "First To Cry" is a bit more radio-friendly than many are used to hearing from HoL, but again it is not an annoyance, and the listener likely won't feel like this is a sell-out attempt so much as it is an attempt to tone down the "bigness" of the typical House Of Lords song.     

Christian is at the top of his game here, and never do I hear even a slight indication that he is struggling with his range or in maintaining his pitch and timbre.  Unlike David Coverdale, for example, who while still vocally powerful yet obviously not as rangey as he once was, Christian is able to reach the highs and scrape the lows that he has always used. 

Jimi Bell is an excellent addition to this studio-version of the band (I have no idea who will play live), and he is given multiple opportunities to shine on Big Money.  "Run For Your Life" has a great solo right before the closing chorus that gives him a chance to stretch the strings a bit.  "Seven" features another great solo, but nowhere is his influence on the album's sound more prominent than on the previously-gushed about song "One Man Down".  Excellent axework has always been a hallmark of  House Of Lords' albums, and Bell steps boldly into the shoes of the band's previous guitar heroes and meets or exceeds expectations at every turn.

This is not to say that this album is 100% without its flaws.  For one, it is a little bit odd to me that the bass is so low in the mix here, which leaves some songs missing a bit of punch.  Typically, Frontiers Records is known for solid production and mixing on its albums, but this one seems just a slight bit off.  It is not something that destroys any one song, but I think that hearing these songs live would really give a person a better idea of what Christian likely was hearing in his head, as the bass is typically more upfrong in the live setting.  Additionally, there are a couple of tracks where the keys are a bit more "in your face" than they have been at any time since Greg Giuffria left the band.  "Someday When" is a prime example of this.  Again, it is not a terrible song, and the keyboards don't kill it off, but they do very nearly overpower the guitar here, especially with the subdued bass lines.

Overall, this is yet again another extremely solid effort from House Of Lords, and I expect that Big Money will find its way onto many year-end Top 10 lists, mine included.  Just how high it finishes will be largely influenced by what comes out in the last quarter of the year and just how highly releases from King Kobra, Night Ranger, Journey, Sebastian Bach, and a handful of others are ranked. 

Rating:  An absolutely crank-worthy album...dial it up to 9!  With a bit more bass, we may be looking at a 10 here...

Back To Reviews Index

Monday, September 12, 2011

LIBERTY N' JUSTICE "Sin" (featuring Jani Lane)

(c) 2011 iTunes single, Up-R-North/Justin Murr Music

  1. Sin
Jani Lane--Vocals
Kerri Kelli--Guitars
Bill Leverty--Guitars
JK Northrup--Guitars, Drums
Justin Murr--Bass

Sadly, the hair metal world lost a vocal icon with the passing of Jani Lane just a few weeks ago. With this song, Liberty N' Justce has released the last known full-studio recording by Lane...and it is an incredible song. Released on iTunes, this song will eventually be part of LnJ's Cigar Chronicles release in 2012, but fans of Lane, and of LnJ, can enjoy this truly amazing song now. A heartfelt ballad filled with excellent guitarwork, the lyrics to "Sin", much like those of "My Addiction", Lane's previous effort with LnJ, seems to really fit what everyone felt about the singer: he was a flawed individual with many demons and sins, but that he was trying to find his way through the haze his life appeared to be so many times. Lane co-wrote the song, along with Northrup, Murr, Kelli, and Scott Bolan, and a portion of the sales of the track will go to charity in the name of Jani Lane.

Warrant fans, Jani Lane fans, Liberty N' Justice fans, and fans of great hard rock will not want to miss this song at such a bargain price. Stop reading and go download it now...

Back To Reviews Index

BULLETBOYS "Rocked & Ripped"

(c) 2011 Cleopatra Records

  1. Dr. Feelgood
  2. Livin' On A Prayer
  3. Take Me Home Tonight
  4. Faithfully
  5. Balls To The Wall
  6. Free Fallin'
  7. Renegade
  8. Falling In Love
  9. F**kin' Perfect
  10. The Rover
  11. I'll See You In My Dreams
  12. Colder Weather
  13. Rehab
  14. Broken Wings
  15. Tiny Dancer
  16. Smooth Up In Ya (2011 version)
Marq Torien--Vocals, Guitar, Bass, Percussion, Congas
Greg Gatti--Guitars
Chris Turbis--Keyboards
Don "Dish" Bish--Drums

When, oh when, are we going to put a bullet in the idea of 80's bands doing all-covers albums?  Not only has the idea been done to death, it is not being done very well in most cases.  I wish I could say that this new Bulletboys attempt at the lame trend is the exception, but sadly it follows the rule.  This is generally NOT a good record at all, although there are a couple of above average tracks here and a few out-of-the-ordinary choices that keep from bombing totally.

Most of these albums fall into one of two camps.  There's the "do it as close to the original as possible" camp and then there's the "make it our own" camp.  Marq Torien and his "band" (he has fired all of these players at last report...) generally stick to the paint-by-numbers style here, with very little variation in most of the performances.  Musically, "Dr. Feelgood" is pretty much a clone of the Motley Crue version and, perhaps surprisingly to many, Vince Neil actually does a better job vocally than the usually smooth-Torien, who sounds like he is having a bit of trouble controlling his screams.  "Livin' On A Prayer", likewise, does virtually nothing musically to distinguish itself from the original, although less than stellar production doesn't help the sound.  On this track, however, Torien's voice sounds considerably stronger, but still not in the same arena as good ole' Jon.  Poor production once again damages what could have been one of the best songs on this album with the third track, a cover of Eddie Money's "Take Me Home Tonight".  Torien's voice sounds really good here, but the recording is so muddy it is almost hard to listen to. 

I have to say that I was shocked to hear the attempt to cover Journey's "Faithfully" because you are talking about one of the most well-known hard rock/arena rock/AOR songs of all time.  Guess what.  It is probably the best song on this album and is EASILY the best cover version of this classic I have ever heard (unless you count the multiple versions of Journey covering themselves through the years...).  Torien doesn't try to outsing Steve Perry or alter the song to make it something it isn't, and as a result he really delivers here.  Excellent work here that gave me hope that maybe there were a few more gems to dig out here. 

Before we get to anything even remotely good, however, Torien and Co. absolutely BUTCHER a couple of classic songs.  "Balls To The Wall" is terrible, especially with the bizarre vocal effects Torien uses here.  Musically it is almost dead-on, but, wow...these vocals are BAD on the verses and, well, there is no other Udo, so Torien really stood no chance here.  This is one track that would have been better off left on the cutting room floor.  Tom Petty gets the slaughterhouse treatment next, as Torien really can't do the chorus justice and, once again, the production is just of very poor quality.  For a non-Petty fan like me to tell you I actually PREFER Petty's version is pretty bad, so take that for what it's worth. 

Things look up a bit with Styx's "Renegade".  Once again, a MASSIVE classic is actually handled fairly well here, so Torien is back in good graces with me for the time being.  However, that is pretty short-lived as "Falling In Love" by the Scorpions and "The Rover" by Zeppelin are just not performed well, in my opinion.  Sandwiched in there is a cover of a Pink song (yes, I said Pink), with "F**kin' Perfect".  I don't think I can come up with an adjective to explain how bad this song I won't try, because terrible doesn't even begin to touch it.  The same can be said of the absolutely brutal performance of "I'll See You In My Dreams".  Seriously, Giant is about as close to AOR perfection as you can get and for someone with Torien's voice to attempt to pull off Dann Huff is laughable.  The production is, once again, abysmal, and the guitars are nowhere near the caliber of Huff's.  Again, a track that should never have been attempted.

"Colder Weather", for those who do not know, is a modern country song by the Zac Brown Band.  It is an odd choice for inclusion here, but it is performed pretty well in general, although there are still some muddy production issues.  Not a bad song at all and a gutsy call as this is a pretty popular song.  On the flip side, Amy Winehouse's "Rehab" is brutal...just brutal.  Of course, I don't like the original, so maybe I am being a bit harsh here.

"Broken Wings" is simply out of Torien's range, and on the occasions he is close, production again destroys the effort.  Elton John's "Tiny Dancer" fairs no better. 

The one thing you would think the band couldn't screw up is their own song...right?  Wrong.  Torien sounds like he has lost his ability to scream, and since that is how the song starts, things just go from bad to...well, not good at all.  Really sad to hear the one truly recognizable song of the Bulletboys (for most people, anyway) get such a rough reboot.

This is not a good record by any stretch of the imagination, and I would never recommend buying it.  If I was you, I'd shell out a couple of bucks to download the songs I gave good words to, and then track down originals of any of the other songs that interest you. 

Rating:  Turn this down to 4, with two or three tracks being all that kept me from turning it all the way off!

Back To Reviews Index

Sunday, September 4, 2011


(c) 2009 Frontiers Records

  1. Revolution Of Mind
  2. Slay Your Demons
  3. Nowhere Without Your Love
  4. One Day Down By The Lake (See You Real Soon)
  5. Water Into Wine (Fassa Rokka)
  6. Questions (It's About Time)
  7. You Can't Take Anything
  8. Lying
  9. Western World
  10. That's What You Do
  11. Dust In The Wind (Bonus Track)
John Elefante--Lead Vocals, Rhythm Guitar
Dan Needham--Drums, Percussion
Anthony Sallee--Bass
Tim Smith--Bass on "Slay Your Demons"
J.R. McNeely--Guitar on "Questions"
Dave Amato--Lead Guitar
Kerry Livgren--Lead Guitar
Dino Elefante--Acoustic and Electric Guitars

As one would likely expect, especially after looking at the list of players, there is a definite Kansas influence on this album in places, but it is not as overwhelming as one might believe.  For fans of that legendary progressive rock band, John Elefante is a familiar name as he was the vocalist and keyboard player on albums such as, Vinyl Confessions and Drastic Measures.  Additionally, Kerry Livgren's is a name that is exceptionally well known, not just to Kansas fans, but to fans of prog rock in general.  Even more, Mastedon chose to include an updated version of "Dust In The Wind" as a bonus track for this album.  But Elefante also does his best to mix in a heavy dose of melodic rock, AOR, and even some classic rock sounds on this latest effort from Mastedon.  With all the early hype this album was receiving, and with me really enjoying the first two Mastedon discs, it isn't surprising that I was really anticipating this new album which comes more than a decade after the last Mastedon effort.  So, does 3 stack up to the greatness of the legendary Kansas or to the equally great, though lesser-known outside of Christian circles, previous two Mastedon records?

In a

Sadly, I am pretty disappointed in the album overall.  There are some strong pieces here, but the songs really just don't do much for me.  Neither as progressive as anything Kansas did, nor as gritty or edgy as anything done on the previous Mastedon albums, 3 is an overall bland venture to my ears.  Sure, John's voice is still very strong and there is no doubt that Livgren is a highly talented guitarist, and that shows through in places here, also.  But something is missing, and I think I have a couple of ideas as to what that missing link (or links) may be.

First, the previous Mastedon albums were quasi-all-star albums.  Elefante recruited dfferent players and vocalists for various tracks on both It's A Jungle Out There and Lofcaudio, but on this album Elefante handles all the vocals and while Livgren and Dave Amato (REO Speedwagon) add some guest the lead guitars, this is basically a set band of John on vocals, brother Dino on guitars, Dan Needham on drums, and Anthony Sallee (formerly of Whiteheart) on bass.  As such, I think part of the problem for me is that there is not a great variety in the sounds here.  Yes, I know that most bands utilize the same musicians on every song, but that was what was unique about Mastedon, at least for me; I didn't view Mastedon so much as a band as a project, and that is now gone.

Secondly, this album is just too smooth and slick for its own good, which should be expected, at least to a degree, as this is what the Elefante Brothers are noted for in their production styles.  But with that smooth, slick production, some of the emotion seems to be lost in these songs that a bit rougher production might have brought out. 

Finally, this albums suffers from a problem that a lot of melodic rock/AOR albums seem to be suffering from recently:  mid-tempo syndrome.  Everything here is so mid-tempo (or slower in some cases) that everything just kind of runs together.  There are not a lot of highs or lows...just a bunch of middles.  A couple of tracks here seem to be begging to really rock out but they are never allowed to.  "Water Into Wine" and "Lying" are perfect examples of this, and are the "hardest" tracks on the disc, although I think "hard" is overstating it.  "That's What You Do" has some rock to it, also, but not a lot.  Otherwise, everything here is of about the same tempo unless it drifts solidly into ballad territory.  Sure, a lot of it is melodic with some high quality musical performances, with "Revolution Of Mind" and "Slay Your Demons" being a couple of tracks that come to mind, but incredible musicianship just doesn't equate to incredible songs, at least for me.

What is ironic is that the two songs I enjoy the most are the two I likely should NOT enjoy the most.  The remake of "Dust In The Wind" and the big progressive rocker "One Day Down By The Lake" are the two songs that I can honestly say I enjoy here.  Why is that ironic?  Simply put, I am not, nor have I ever been, a Kansas fan with the exception of a couple of songs, yet these two tracks have the biggest Kansas feel to them and are the two most unique sounding songs on the album.  To me, it really says something when a remake is considered a unique song.  That being said, Livgren is in fine form on "One Day..." and at more than ten minutes long, it does give the listener an expanded taste of what I think this album could have been but sadly is not.

Rating:  It is really hard for me to say this, but I would recommend turning this down to 4.

Back To Review Index

FAITH NATION "Faith Nation"

(c) 1997 Nightworks Records

  1. When God Came Down
  2. We Shall Stand
  3. Then Love Came In
  4. Book Of Life
  5. The Raven And The Dove
  6. Eternally
  7. Grace Me
  8. All That I Am
  9. Give Me More
Huey Peterson--Guitars
Chris Gilbertson--Vocals
Rick Helm--Keyboards
Matt McClay--Bass
Dan Roussin--Drums

Okay, be honest. Who knew that Faith Nation had a CD out BEFORE their Oridnary People release from 1999? Not this guy. In fact, I stumbled across this one totally by accident and picked it up on a whim, wondering if it was, in fact, the same band. The answer to that question is yes....and no.

I say no because other than lead guitarist and main songwriter Huey Peterson, and bass player Matt McClay, there are NO members on both albums. However, I also say yes because there is no mistaking the style and sound between the two albums. It's not like the two remaining members totally morphed their sound and became a different band between albums.

One thing that always makes me nervous is when I look at the band line-up, see five members, but only ONE guitar player. That, to me, screams keyboards are gonna be very prominent on this album. Not surprisingly, that is definitely the case here. On this self-titled album, things start off very promisingly with the rocking "When God Came Down" that, while incorporating a good dose of keys, still manages to keep the guitars out front for the most part and utilizes a solid, if short, guitar solo. This song is a very nice hard AOR track with some great vocals and an excellent message about God coming to Earth in the form of Christ. Very promising start.

Sadly, at least for me, things don't stay the course. "We Shall Stand" gets very keyboard-laden and almost wanders out of rock territory and into pure CCM territory. One cool thing about this song, however, is the way Peterson's solo weaves the classic Christmas carol "The Little Drummer Boy" into what turns out to be a nearly full minute long outro that also incorporates some of the words from "Amazing Grace". All in all, its a pretty cool song, just not overly hard rocking by any stretch.

"Then Love Came In" is the only true ballad on the album, but other songs such as "Eternally" and "All That I Am" are both decidedly much slower in tempo than the album requires, as it is rarely out of mid-tempo territory. A couple more real good hard rocking tunes would have served this disc well, but sadly after the opening track, the only real rockers are "Book Of Life" and "Grace Me", both of which remind me of Volz-era Petra for some reason. "The Raven And The Dove", oddly, sounds more akin to early Schlitt-era Petra, at least in the arrangement of the song.

Peterson rips off several tasty solos, with the efforts on "The Raven And The Dove", "All That I Am", and "Give Me More" being particularly strong. McClay and Roussin do a fine job of holding things together, and Gilbertson is a more than capable vocalist. In fact, I would go so far as to say I prefer Gilbertson's voice to that of James Salter who would leave The Brave and take over the microphone for Faith Nation on the next release. And, to be fair, Helm has a lot of talent on the keys...they are just far too heavily implemented for my tastes. As a fan of hair metal and melodic hard rock, I can appreciate keyboards as enhancement instruments, with the occasional big role in a well executed power ballad, but this album is so keyboard heavy it drips of sugary gooiness that I just can't swallow in large doses.

One thing that I noticed on this album as opposed to the follow-up disc, Ordinary People is that this disc is a lot less lyrically vague as far as a true Christian stance. That is repeatedly the number one knock I read on reviews of Ordinary People...that it is just so wishy-washy and spiritual, almost New Agey at times, rather than Christian in its lyrics. That is not the case here.

If you can find it, and you are a fan of the more well known Ordinary People, then by all means, pick up Faith Nation if you find it for under $10 or so. If you have to shell out more than that, which I am guessing you will, I personally wouldn't spend it; this album is just too slick, too keyboard heavy, and too CCM meets AOR for my tastes.

Rating: Turn this one down to 4.5, with Peterson's guitar solos being the only reason it scores that high.

Back To Reviews Index