"Heaven" (Frontiers Records/Now & Then Productions)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

Vocalist Stan Bush, an Emmy-winning songwriter, tackles the pop-rock medium with a style that fits squarely in the AOR rock mold. Stan Bush has written with musical heavyweights the likes of Paul Stanley (KISS), Jonathan Cain (Journey), and Jim Vallance (who has written with Aerosmith) and his pop sensibilities shine brightly on "Heaven."

It is safe to say that you've heard Stan Bush, but not really heard of Stan Bush. As a consequence, it might be easiest to compare his style to other well-known artists - Damn Yankees, Sammy Hagar, early Bryan Adams, and even a little Rick Springfield (believe it or not) comes to mind. "Heaven" reminds me of late '80s and early '90s radio rock before grunge came along and killed everything on the airwaves. 

A few of the "harder" tracks sound like recent Def Leppard or recent Night Ranger, but we all know how little of that exists these days let alone is played on the radio. There are quite a few guitar solos that have the fire of some of heavy metal's glory days without being too bombastic. The ballads are okay, but detract from the overall flow of "Heaven." 

The vocal melodies are quite good except that it keeps reminding me of all the songs I heard on movie soundtracks in the mid to late '80s.  That's not necessarily a bad thing, but it just doesn't have the kick that I'm looking for now that it is new millennium. Certain tracks evoke a sort of anthemic quality that would sound perfect in a packed arena with the masses singing along.

There's nothing special about the lyrics (stereotypical "boy meets girl" subject matter and all the elements surrounding love that makes for radio fodder throughout history), but there is a sincerity and honesty in the delivery that helps in avoiding everything from becoming stale. 

"Heaven" isn't bad, it just doesn't have the edge that I'm looking for in music. So, within the context of what Rough Edge stands for, I cannot give "Heaven" better than two chainsaws even though I think the music is decent. However, if this were not a hard rock/heavy metal site I can guarantee you "Heaven" would receive at least three "stars" out of four. 

"Heaven" was produced by Stan Bush. The overall production is above average as the songs are quite polished and clarity rules the day. 

Stan Bush and Barrage are Stan Bush and his collection of hired guns: Brett Walker, Randy Cantor, Jack Ponti, Don Kirkpatrick, Rick Seratte, Jack White, Mike Seifrit, Jeff Silvermann, Rocket Richotte, Brett Tuggle, Greg Bisonette, and Kevin Dukes. 

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright 2000 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 11 Jun 2018 20:14:10 -0400.