Wednesday, January 25, 2012

ONE MAN'S TRASH (featuring Jimi Jamison) "HIStory"

(c) 2011 As Is Records

  1. Real Thing
  2. The Restless Kind
  3. Long Time
  4. History
  5. Meadowland
  6. Lose My Mind
  7. Through Your Eyes
  8. She Shines
  9. Out Of Control
  10. Tears In My Eyes
  11. The Restless Kind (acoustic)
  12. History (Hotel-room version)
Jimi Jamison--Lead Vocals
Frank Zahl--Guitars
Beathoven--Keyboards, Backing Vocals
Timo von Kresslein--Bass, Backing Vocals
Heinzangel--Drums, Backing Vocals

Not long after it was reported that Jimi Jamison would be heading back to Survivor (again), I received this little CD by a band called One Man's Trash.  Now, I realize I put "featuring Jimi Jamison" on the title line, and not "featuring Jimi Jamison and Frank Zahl", but come on, be you have any clue who Frank Zahl is?  I didn't think so.  While Jimi rightfully deserves to be listed as one of the most powerful vocalists of the 1980's (and, in my opinion, in the history of melodic hard rock), nobody outside of Germany likely has any clue who Zahl is.  Well, for fans of solid melodic AOR-styled rock, that will change if people track this CD down.

Zahl, it turns out, is a pretty solid songwritier who also plays guitar on this album.  He is not a fretboards-blazing type of player as much as he is a tasteful, laid-back, smooth melodic player that can rock a nice solo when he wants to, but is content to sit back and let the writing and musicianship of the entire project take center stage.  Granted, it's going to be tough for this project to be viewed as anything more than a vehicle for Jamison's smooth-as-silk delivery, but that's okay.  If it is Jamison that brings people to the party then there are a lot of people who are likely to leave that party fairly happy.  Not ecstatic, but probably smiling a bit and feeling a bit warm inside.

This is not a metal album by any stretch; heck, a lot of people might question if it is even a hard rock album for much of the record.  In fact, never does it even touch the hardest sounds that Survivor released.  There are no "Eye Of The Tiger" or "Burning Heart" moments to be found here.  I would categorize this more in the vein of Survivor's...or Journey's....or Foreigner's....more middle-of-the-road rockers, radio friendly but with just the hint of an edge that will keep the rocker in you happy.  Fan's of Jimi's solo work are definitely going to find a lot to like here, I think, as this is pretty much the style and sound of One Man's Trash...up-tempo melodic rockers that have that classic rock feel, never really reaching the arena rock style of Survivor. 

The album starts off with one of the harder-edged tracks, "Real Thing", which then leads into one of my two favorite tracks, "The Restless Kind", which has the most Survivor-like feel to it with a rocking guitar lick and the keyboards playing a supporting role in the background.   "Lose My Mind" falls into that Survivor-rock camp as well and features a voice-box guitar intro before settling into a solid classic rock rhythm with some understated keys and a nice, melodic guitar solo.  The title track, "History" has a big drum intro, a nice opening guitar lick, an above average, rocking solo at the end of the track, and some huge harmony vocals on the "whoa's" of the chorus that will have arena rockers from the 80's grinning from ear to ear.  It's not a hard rocker on this disc, but I'm betting that in a live setting it bumps up the rock factor just a bit.  "Out Of Control" is my other favorite here and showcases Zahl letting loose on the guitar on this song, which is the truest hard-rocker on the disc.  The main riff is AC/DC-styled three-chord rock, but neither Johnson or Scott can hold a vocal torch to Jamison's stellar pipes.  Zahl has a tasty but TINY solo in this one (come on, Frank...let it rip!!!) that just begs to be extended by even fifteen or twenty seconds.  "Tears In My Eyes" is more of a mid-tempo rocker, despite it's ballad-sounding title, and is another one of the strongest tracks here. 

There are a couple of more down-tempo numbers here, and while they are good musically, I have to say that they are distractions for me.  "Meadowlands", to be truly honest, is actually almost boring during the verses, although the chorus picks things up a bit.  It seems like the band is trying out a sort of 90's-era Bon Jovi know, when they went all pop-schlock sounding on us like on the weakest moments of Keep The Faith or These Days.  "She Shines" has a roadhouse stomp kind of country sound made popular by the pop-country crossover band Restless Heart, and the big ballad here, "Through Your Eyes" REEKS of that same country act.  Not bad songs, really, but they will turn off the sleaze and hair metal fans of this site, for sure.

The last two tracks on the disc are reworks of previous tracks.  There's really no reason for an acoustic version of "The Restless Kind", as the rock is removed from this track which, when stripped down, becomes nothing more than Jimi and an acoustic guitar.  The "hotel room" version of the title track is, once again, simply an acoustic rendering that does nothing to improve upon the main version of what is really a pretty good rocker.   

Overall, I was nicely surprised by most of the music here, at least as far as the songwriting goes.  I was not surprised by the strength of Jamison's vocals, as he sounds pretty much like he always does, which is a great thing.  I just wish more time was spent in the style of the title track, "Out Of Control" or "The Restless Kind", with a few less mid-tempo or slower tracks.  Would I recommend this album to my friends?  Depends on their preferences musically.  If they are of the glam, sleaze, or hair metal ilk, then no.  If they are more into the arena rock, AOR, melodic hard rock style of the 80's, then by all means.  It is a solid effort by a band that I have a strong suspicion is a one-and-done project, at least with Jamison on vocals.

If you want to hear it before you buy it, I believe most of the album streams on a player on the band's site here.

Rating:  Rock this to a nice 6.5.

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