Words: Craig Hartranft
With the first press release, lovers of AOR melodic rock began drooling over the forthcoming Ozone album, Self Defence, and with good reason. The album features two vocal legend of the genre from the UK/European theater, Chris Ousey and Steve Overland. No introduction necessary, really. If that's not enough you have some other giants in the field with Mike Slamer and Tommy Denander doing guitars, bass, keys, and helping with songwriting. Slamer also produces. With all this said and done, might as well wrap up the package and put a pretty bow on it.
Essentially, for all you AOR melodic rockers, your slobbering was worth it. This album rocks. While there have been more than a few great AOR albums this year, Self Defence is another contender. First, as you would expect considering the talent, the songs are well-written and arranged. Melody, harmony, and groove are abundant throughout. That and the simple catch accessibility in compositional hooks and lyrical refrains. Ousey, who handles the lead vocals, isn't my first, go-to, AOR vocalist, but paired with Overland (and like six other dudes) the vocal arrangements and harmonies on this album are monstrous, an obvious focal point of the entire album.
After this, who doesn't want to listen to Tommy Denander play guitar. I don't know how many leads either Slamer or Denander do, but the guitar thrills also abundant, truly self-evident.
When I mentioned that the album rocks, many of the songs are hard rock heavy and quick paced, the groove driving them along. Good examples: Evolve, Self Defence, Practice What You Preach, and Visionary Man. There's a bit of ballad in So Blind. It's got a big soaring chorus and a ripping solo in the second half. There is some curious redundancy, in the best sense, amongst several songs. Many songs begin with solo guitar often sounding similar, yet different, like Destiny, Evolve, Self Defence, and Smile Before You Lie, and Practice What You Preach. Otherwise, Ozone and Self Defence, featuring vocalists Chris Ousey and Steve Overland, is a rather large powerhouse of classic AOR melodic hard rock, bound to please fans of the same everywhere. Easily recommended.
Ozone and Self Defence, featuring vocalists Chris Ousey and Steve Overland, is a rather large powerhouse of classic AOR melodic hard rock, bound to please fans of the same everywhere. Easily recommended.
Formed 23 years ago, Finland's Excalion has had a turbulent musical career. Before releasing a trio of albums between 2005 and 2010, they had personnel changes. Currently, only the drummer and keyboard ... [ Read More ]