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Da Vinci: Ambition Rocks
Da Vinci - Ambition Rocks CD Album Review

Da Vinci: Ambition Rocks

Melodic Hard Rock/AOR
4.0/5.0

If you've never heard of Norwegian band Da Vinci, don't worry, I hadn't either. Formed back in 1986 Da Vinci's success was found largely in their native country, with inroads into the UK, thanks to a supporting tour with Status Quo in 1989. They lasted until 1992 before breaking up. Over the following years and to the present, original members and friends guitarist Gunnar Westlie and keyboard player Dag Selboskar continued to play and write songs together. The result is, after 25 years later, a new Da Vinci band and a new album, Ambition Rocks.

Da Vinci Band Photo

Da Vinci

With a single spin of Ambition Rocks, you'll be transported back to 1986 for classic melodic hard rock in an AOR wrapper. The Da Vinci version stands upon two pillars: Westlie's guitar lines and Selboskar's keyboard textures. Most songs begin with one or the other, often together. Then you'll find the same in tandem key and guitar solos. This is not to dismiss the other players and instruments, but Westlie and Selboskar are in the lead here. After these things, the songs are built around strong melodies and harmonies from guitar, vocal arrangements, and keyboard lines, particularly the piano as within Angel. Of the vocals, Erling Ellingsen sings clean, melodic, and strong. Yet, often in the heavier songs his voice struggles to rise above the music. Underneath all this, the bass and drum lines propel the songs with terrific rock rhythm and groove.

Of the songs, there's quite a few catchy, arena ready, rockers here like the heavier Vicious Circle and Curious Sensation, or the somewhat swift Storm On The Horizon. Alternatively, a song like Little Lonely moderates the pace with a steady groove, and you may sense a subtle blues feeling. Better for that blues groove is Painted Lady, driven by thick riffs accompanied by a prevalent bass line. Ballads come with You're Mine and Angel, both of which allow you to hear Ellingsen's voice a bit better.

Essentially, Ambition Rocks is a fine return to form for Da Vinci, offering classic AOR melodic hard rock in the best tradition of the genre. Perhaps the album comes with promise of more albums in the future. Let's hope so. Recommended.



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The Bottom Line

Ambition Rocks is a fine return to form for Da Vinci, offering classic AOR melodic hard rock in the best tradition of the genre. Perhaps the album comes with promise of more albums in the future. Let's hope so. Recommended.

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