Recent Reviews

May 2024

April 2024

March 2024

February 2024

[ More Music Reviews ]


Hugo's Voyage: Inception
Hugo's Voyage - Inception Album Art

Hugo's Voyage: Inception

AOR Melodic Rock
4.0/5.0

Hailing from the Boston/NYC area, and deriving from the Journey tribute band Voyage, Hugo's Voyage is a metaphor for the musical career of Hugo Valenti. Who, you ask scratching your head. Well, me too. Valenti fronted the band Valentine which dropped their debut album in 1990. This brought success with the single No Way and power ballad Never Said it Was Gonna be Easy.

The band would change to Open Skyz for their next self-titled release. Produced by Ritchie Zito (Eddie Money, Cheap Trick, et al) and Rob Jacobs (Don Henley, The Eagles, U2), the album delivered several singles, including the top 20 Every Day Of My Life. Open Skyz would eventually disolve, and Hugo would pursue a solo career and several albums. Meanwhile, with constant comparisons to Steve Perry, Valenti also created his own Journey tribute band. Sometime later Valentine reunited, releasing their final album, Soul Salvation in 2008.

Hugo's Voyage - Click For Larger Image

Hugo's Voyage: Hugo Valenti, center

Currently, Valenti continues touring with Voyage with great reception and success. The band is considered one of the finest Journey tribute bands by fans. Yeah, Valenti even looks like a Perry-clone; he's got that going for him. But both he and fellow band members have sought to record their own original music. The result is Hugo's Voyage and their debut album, Inception, for the Frontiers Music label.

All that establishes some substantial AOR cred for Hugo's Voyage to make new original music. But the significant Journey fan is now raisign a finger in objection. Here's another band attempting to sound like, even clone Journey, for their own purposes (and profit). Yeah. I get that. But, honestly, I'm not so sure. Sure, there's some Journey-esque nuances in the arrangements, if you're intent on minute dissection while listening. You're likely going to find what you're looking for. And, yes, Valenti has Perry's timbre. But across this album, I think you'll find he's within his own voice. What remains is Hugo's Voyage's commitment to classic AOR melodic rock. Which is arrangements moved by song melody, vocal harmony, rock rhythm and groove, catchy chorus, playful piano and synth, and inspired guitar solos. You only need to think outside the Journey box.



Speaking then to some songs, we begin with more up beat rockers: Goin' Away, I'll Be Around, The Voyage, and Crazy What Love Can Do. The rest of the album strikes a more mellow chord, more AOR melodic rock sans the assertiveness of hard rock. Examples include Sound Of A Broken Heart, A Friend Like You, and the obvious ballads September Love (massive piano solo followed by guitar solo) and In My Heart. If you need some suspicions of Journey pilfering listen to the piano and bass line beginning Don't Wanna Live Without Your Love. What I might suggest, after several spins, what separates Hugo's Voyage from Journey is the inability to create mammoth hit singles. All songs are well-crafted and well-played but there's no Don't Stop Believin' or Open Arms here. Nevertheless, Inception remains a solid album of classic AOR melodic rock. But what my come next time ...

All said, Hugo's Voyage's Inception is a fine and entertaining collection of original AOR melodic rock from a band that doubles as an Journey tribute band. But don't expect Journey, this is Hugo's Voyage. Recommended to fans of the genre.



CraigHartranft.net - New fiction, crime fiction by Craig Hartranft

Note: All Amazon advertising in this review first benefits the artist, then Craig Hartranft also receives a residual. Click, and thanks for your support.


The Take Away

Hugo's Voyage's Inception is a fine and entertaining collection of original AOR melodic rock from a band that doubles as an Journey tribute band. But don't expect Journey, this is Hugo's Voyage. Recommended to fans of the genre.

Find A Review

Alphabetical Index

a b c d e f g h i j
k l m n o p q r s t
u v w x y z #
New & Notable
Read the Riot V: Mean Streets Album Review

Next year, American metal band Riot V, founded by the late guitarist Mark Reale (d. 2012), will celebrate their 50th anniversary in the metal business. Though we haven't had a new studio album from the band ... [ Read More ]

April 2024 Stats
  • Views: 15,361
  • Users: 3,920
  • Views Per Users: 3.92
  • Event Count: 45,224
  • Sessions: 8,917
  • Engaged Sessions: 4,964
  • Engagement Rate: 55.67%
  • Source: Google Analytics