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Saturday, June 16, 2007

Reviews

MARCO MENDOZA ‘Live For Tomorrow’ Frontiers (2007) www.frontiers.it

Bass player Marco Mendoza (Soul SirkUS/Thin Lizzy/Ted Nugent/Blue Murder/Whitesnake) steps up to the kike for a very enjoyable solo album that mixes hard rock with funk and a little bit of pop thrown into the mix as well. Former Mr.Big/Poison guitarist Richie Kotzen is the other main player on here. Of course some of Mendoza’s musical friends pop up including Ted Nugent rocking out on ‘You Got Me’ and Toto’s Steve Lukather guests on the pop rocker title track - a sure fire airplay hit. What I love is the variety on here including two songs, ‘Lettin’ Go’ and ‘Look Out For The Boys’, both contain a heavy groove and reminded me musically and vocally at times of Glenn Hughes. In fact if Marco Mendoza does another solo outing he should hook up with Glenn Hughes as I am sure they would produce some great music. Tommy Bolin was another name that came to mind in the vocals at times and the slow burner ‘Still In Me’ sounds like a last Bolin number.
Many solo albums sound either like the musician’s other band(s) or so far out even the most ardent fan has trouble with the music. Luckily Marco Mendoza has produced a gem of an album, full of melody and top draw musicianship. It’s not Thin Lizzy or Whitesnake but it is damn fine hard rock meets funk and pop. Enjoy!

****
Jason Ritchie

KNIGHT AREA ’Under A new Sign’ The Laser’s Edge (2007) www.knightarea.com

This album could have been released anytime in the past thirty years and that’s a compliment, in that the music has that timeless edge that all could prog rock records have. Lovers of Yes, Styx and even latter day bands like Dream Theater and Pendragon will adore this album. Yes is the biggest musical comparison not least for the Chris Squire like bass runs and vocalist Mark Smit who sings in a high range, although not as high as Jon Anderson does! You like keyboards and guitar interplay? ‘Mastermind’ will have you in heaven - reminded me a lot of long lost pomp rockers Prophet. There is a lovely epic (thirteen minutes plus) ‘A Different Man’ Part II’ that closes the album. From a gentle keys intro it builds nicely with some Moog backing and again those wonderful bass parts. At the seven minute mark it all goes down a notch before a grandiose finale. Classic prog doesn’t get much better than this!
Maybe nothing new but Knight’s Area capture all the good things about progressive music and add them onto their very strong melodies. A definite one for fans of classic/neo prog rock.

****
Jason Ritchie

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