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Sunstorm: Afterlife
Sunstorm - Afterlife Album Art

Sunstorm: Afterlife

(Melodic) Hard & Heavy Rock
3.5/5.0

Some brief history. Sunstorm is a studio project created by Frontiers Music to feature veteran vocalist Joe Lynn Turner. Their eponymous debut album appeared in 2006. Additional albums arrived about every two to three years. But now, for their latest and sixth studio album Afterlife, Sunstorm has had a major personnel change. The featured vocalist is now Ronnie Romero from Lords of Black, Rainbow, The Ferrymen, et al. Production and songwriting once more comes from Frontiers inside man Alessandro Del Vecchio, and features DGM guitarist Simone Mularoni.

Sunstorm - Click For Larger Image

Sunstorm

Since honesty is my first prerequisite for writing a music review, I'll start with one comment and one observation. To the former, I'm not a huge fan of Mr Romero's vocal style; he's simply to raw and coarse for my ears. But that does make him a contemporary heavy metal singer, and he can certainly follow song melody and harmony. To the latter, Sunstorm and Afterlife are being pitched as melodic hard rock with AOR aspirations. In light of the attending music, I would call this album more hard and heavy rock with subtle melodic characteristics, but certainly composed and tuned to Romero's heavy metal vocal style.

That is to say that most songs feature strong and sharp metal riffage, a thick and thundering rhythm section, and bristling Mularoni guitar lines, and then wrapped in arrangements that can be fast, heavy, and dense, with Romero raging over top. You'll hear this formula with Born Again, I Found A Way, Far From Over, and Here For You Tonight among others. A personal favorite for hard and heavy rock came with the closing tune, A Story That You Can Tell. If there's some AOR undertones they might be found in the melody of Swan Song. A rising, piano-led metal ballad comes with Lost Forever, which proves that Romero can be more smooth and melodic when called upon.

Perhaps the fundamental question for Sunstorm fans is, do they or will they miss Joe Lynn Turner in this context? With one album, it's too soon to compare the late Turner era to the new Romero era; it's nearly apples and oranges. Nevertheless, if you enjoy melodic hard and heavy rock and Ronnie Romero's vocal style, you will likely enjoy Afterlife and the new Sunstorm (MKII).




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The Bottom Line

If you enjoy melodic hard and heavy rock and Ronnie Romero's vocal style, you will likely enjoy Afterlife and the new Sunstorm (MKII).

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