"Nomad" (Perris Records; 2008)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

It's been seven years since I last reviewed a CD by Iain Ashley Hersey and that was "Fallen Angel," released in 2001. The strange thing is that I feel pretty much the same about "Nomad" as I did about "Fallen Angel." It's a decent record, with more than a few highlights, but ... when the CD finished spinning in my player ... it pretty much went out of my head completely.

Falling somewhere between Deep Purple and Ronnie James Dio -era Rainbow (not that there's a whole lot of difference between them), "Nomad" is an AOR record with big guitar, soaring vocals and a lot of keyboards. It could have easily have been released in the late 70s / early 80s. Don't get me wrong: I like that era (I'm a huge Deep Purple fan) but something about "Nomad" (and, apparently, other albums by Mr. Hersey) just doesn't thrill me.

It's not that the album is bad or unlistenable. I sat through twice it in its entirety before I began this review and I'm listening to again now as I write this review. There are tracks that grab me more than others ("Flesh, Bone and Blood," the band's cover of Rainbow's "L.A. Connection") and other tracks that I could do without ("Vintage Love"). But there's not a single track that really grabbed me and held on to me.

Fans of Hersey's previous work and of other hard rock bands of the 70s era will find something to like on "Nomad." However, it may not be the kind of CD that sticks to your ribs ... or rings in your ears ... for long after it's finished playing.

For more information, check out http://www.iainashleyhersey.com.  

"Fallen Angel" (Frontiers; 2001)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

As a James Bond fan, the last thing you want to do is give a so-so review to a CD whose first track, "License to Kill," is a tribute to Ian Fleming's great literary spy. Unfortunately, "Fallen Angel," by acclaimed guitarist Iain Ashley Hersey never earns anything beyond that. 

The CD is a technically adequate but creatively bland melodic hard rock record that is certainly listenable enough, but never goes beyond the norm. In other words, it delivers exactly what you expect it to deliver but never surprises or really grabs you. It's the kind of music where, if you heard it on your local radio station, you wouldn't change the channel but you wouldn't wait for the DJ to tell you who that last artist happened to be so you could run out and buy the CD.

A couple of tracks stand out - "License to Kill" for obvious reasons (its inclusion of the classic James Bond theme by Monty Norman, for one) and "Distant Memories" for its classic melodic rock chorus and sound. Other tracks, while not bad, play like average tracks from the classic melodic metal era. If you're heavily into that era, you may appreciate the efforts here. If not, you're likely to find most of this CD a little too vanilla.

The fretwork throughout is impressive. If only the songwriting were equal.

Performing on "Fallen Angel" are Iain Ashley Hersey - guitars; Mike Stone - vocals; Jimmy Griego - drums; Dave Sutton - bass; Pat Regan - keyboards; Jim Austin - keyboards, backup vocals; Jeremy Yeremian - keyboards; Dante Marchi - vocals; Marvin Sperling - bass; Paul Shortino - vocals.

For more information, check out http://www.iainashleyhersey.com.  

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 2008 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 11 Oct 2021 20:43:54 -0400 .