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Autograph: Beyond
Autograph - Beyond Album Art

Autograph: Beyond

Melodic Hard Rock
4.5/5.0

By now, most fans of classic rock know of the passing of Autograph founding member and bassist Randy Rand last April. Rand was finishing up the production of their latest album, Beyond, when he received fateful news about his health. The musician, known by friends and family as a "fabulous band mate, brother, and human being," died tragically several days later. However, ever the optimist Rand left instructions to his band and label to have the new album released. Beyond drops this Friday on the Frontiers music label.

Autograph Click For Larger Image

Autograph: Randy Rand (left) RIP

Most will recall Autograph for their one and only radio hit appropriately titled, Turn Up The Radio, from their 1984 debut LP Sign In Please. (For nostalgia's sake, I've included the original video at the end of his review.) While undoubtedly equipped with musical talent and Eighties glam presence, Autograph didn't quite have the same success as their peers. After two more albums, the band would fold in 1989. The following history is smattered with renewed start ups, personnel changes, and new music. Before Rand's death, he was the only remaining original member. Nevertheless, the band toured and was working on new music. The remaining members of Autograph plan to continue on in memory of Randy Rand's legacy. As of this review, I have found no mention of a replacement bass player.



So what about Beyond? My first and best observation is a simple one. Autograph was/is indeed back in the saddle with this recording. Their previous album, 2017's Get Off Your Ass was quite the comeback. But Beyond solidifies their direction. Their sound and tunes are pure classic melodic hard rock, spiced with some metal edge and wrapped in AOR sensibility. While the songs have all the essential classic rock elements, the highlights are self-evident: strong rock rhythm and groove, fine melodic and harmonious vocals, memorable refrains, and fandamntastic ripping guitar solos from master, Jimi Bell. Some comments about the songs follows.



Generally, the songs across this album are consistent in character amd arrangement although, honestly, I can't say I liked every song. (I won't bother to mention which ones because I don't want to swerve your opinion away from (immediately) buying this album.) But every song has a character of its own that makes it a genuinely fine listening experience.

That said, if this were 1985 rather than 2022, this recording includes an abundance of arena-ready hits as opposed to "one hit wonders." My picks would include these catchy guitar-slinging favorite rockers: This Ain't The Place I Wanna Be, Feels So Good, Run For Your Life (very catchy), Everything, and Gotta Getcha. Perhaps in the ballad category, at list a bit milder in the AOR sense, is Take Me Higher which moves mostly by riffs, vocal arrangement, and catchy refrain. But the pick of the litter is definitely Run For Your Life.



All in all, Autograph's Beyond is another entertaining and well-crafted album of AOR-infused, guitar roaring, melodic hard rock. Even with the passing of bassist Randy Rand, the album displays a band in their consistent creative prime. Get it. Easily recommended. RIP Randy Rand.

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The Take Away

Autograph's Beyond is another entertaining and well-crafted album of AOR-infused, guitar roaring, melodic hard rock. Even with the passing of bassist Randy Rand, the album displays a band in their consistent creative prime. Get it. Easily recommended.

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