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Signal Red: Alien Nation
Signal Red - Alien Nation Album Art

Signal Red: Alien Nation

Melodic Hard Rock/AOR
4.5/5.0

Alien Nation marks the return of Signal Red, the musical project from Ten guitarist Steve Grocott and vocalist Lee Small (Shy, Phenomena, et al). The new album also features contributions from Steve Newman (Newman, Compass) on bass and backing vocals and Daniel Zaman on drums.

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Signal Red

Suffice to say, like its predecessor Under The Radar, this album is another tour-de-force of AOR melodic hard rock featuring Grocott's exceptional songwriting and musicianship combined with Small's strong, melodic, and often soulful vocal style. In his songwriting, as a guitarist, you would expect Grocott's riffs and solos to be at the center, and you would be right. But that's only one layer of the onion. Grocott also weaves a significant layer of keyboards and strings into many arrangements. The result is that most songs have a texture of lush density. But then there's his killer guitar solos, which are abundant and exciting. Above all this, Small continues to show his vocal strength and skill, easily adding to and carrying the melody and harmony of the song.

As for the songs, there's much to enjoy across Alien Nation, and fans will not be disappointed in the least. Some fast rockers arrive with Email To God, Ghosts, Rocket Fuel, and Wide Awake In Dreamland, a song loaded with strong Grocott guitar lines. Piano lines and symphonic notes are featured within Insomnia and Pure Shores, both songs rising heavy and dense for a strong arena anthem presence. Something a bit heavier, perhaps even more dark, comes with Dance Macabre wherein the riffs are swollen with synths and strings for an immense, even looming, musical presence. A song like this reminds me of Grocott's work with Ten. A final mention should be made of the fine production of this album. Considering the breadth and depth of Grocott's song arrangements, a capable singer could be swallowed up within them, a lesser singer completely obliterated. But Small's voice rises with strength and power, becoming a major compliment to every composition. All in all, Signal Red's Alien Nation is another powerful album of entertaining melodic hard rock from the talented Lee Small and Steve Grocott. Easily recommended.




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The Bottom Line

Signal Red's Alien Nation is another powerful album of entertaining melodic hard rock from the talented Lee Small and Steve Grocott. Easily recommended.

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