"Into the Light" (Frontier Records; 2000)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

"Into The Light" combines '80s melodic metal with virtuoso performances from Tim Donahue and strong melodic vocals from Kelly Hansen.

Donahue's guitar fireworks are in the vein of Eddie Van Halen-esque fretboard gymnastics along with TNT's Ronnie Le Tekro melodic skills, the overall song-writing acumen of White Lion's Vito Bratta, and fretboard pyrotechnics of Extreme's Nuno Bettencourt. Somehow it all works without being too retro.

Tim Donahue employs a wide variety of instruments and it shows his obvious skills a versatile musician. The virtuoso performances allow him to make the most of the eleven songs on "Into The Light". The most intriguing instrument used is the fretless sustainer guitar that allows Donahue to elicit a number of guitar sounds not normally heard in music without being too weird.

Hansen's vocals are very fluid and supple. Most of the time Hansen's vocals remind me of Don Dokken and occasionally reminds me of Jack Russell especially on "No Regrets."

Even though no particular song jumped out at me neither did any of the songs seem like duds either. My favorite tracks were the instrumentals "Acceleron" and "Alien Talk." Now that doesn't mean I don't like the vocals - I do. "Devil In Her Eyes" recalls the halcyon days of KISS and "Time To Run" has classic metal riffs. The two ballads are understated and not too sappy and only momentarily echo strains of power ballads which either worked well or were susceptible to being like so much 'cheese.'

Not to take anything away from Messrs Donahue and Hansen, but I would have loved this years ago in the '80s. In the year 2001 "Into The Light" seems a bit too mellow for me. I've changed and so have the times.

"Into The Light" was produced by Tim Donahue. The production is decent; unfortunately, when hotshot guitar players produce and mix their own material something always seem to be lacking.  

Tim Donahue plays fretless sustainer guitars, guitar synthesizers, acoustic guitars, fretted and fretless bass, and drum sampling and programming; Kelly Hansen sings lead and harmony vocals.  For more information visit

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: 01 Apr 2024 12:16:14 -0500 .