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"Oxygen" (Self-produced)

retinysaw.gif (295 bytes)retinysaw.gif (295 bytes)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

Staertow, formerly of the upstate-New York rockers Stag, is now cutting his musical teeth on his own material under his own moniker as a solo artist. "Oxygen" features eleven tracks that feature mid-tempo rockers. The quality of the eleven tracks on "Oxygen" are very consistent and feature enough diversity without being too divergent.

Staertow's guitar playing doesn't quite reach shredder heights, but it doesn't need to. "Oxygen" rocks hard enough to please most guitar fanatics as well as though that appreciate song-oriented rock that doesn't sound like 'flavor of the month' processed radio hits. While shredding isn't the raison d'etre on "Oxygen" Staertow does accentuate all of his songs with punchy, energetic solos that recall the better material from the '80s hard rock, pop-rock, and hair-metal efforts. Staertow sprinkles his songs with enough variety to keep the album interesting and displays his musical and technical skills for those willing to pay attention. As a singer Staertow is better than average as his vocals match up with each song's intensity level and emotional balance.

Fans of Ty Tabor/King's X, Nuno Bettencourt/Extreme, and Neal Schon/Journey along with the rock style of Galactic Cowboys, Firehouse, and Danger Danger will appreciate Michael Staertow's "Oxygen." Generally speaking I would bet a good sum of money that Michael Staertow would find success in European rock music markets. I am not one to make suggestions to labels, but Michael Staertow would sound right at home on the Frontiers Records label.

"Oxygen" was produced by Michael Staertow. It's obvious Staertow knows his way around a studio and a recording console as "Oxygen" is fairly crisp sounding. 

Michael Staertow is joined by Michael Menza on drums, Rob Mount on drums, Eric Neu on bass, and Michael Amico on bass.

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Rating Guide:

retinysaw.gif (295 bytes)retinysaw.gif (295 bytes)retinysaw.gif (295 bytes)retinysaw.gif (295 bytes) A classic. This record will kick your ass.

retinysaw.gif (295 bytes)retinysaw.gif (295 bytes)retinysaw.gif (295 bytes) Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

retinysaw.gif (295 bytes)retinysaw.gif (295 bytes) So-so. You've heard better.

retinysaw.gif (295 bytes) Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

restinks.jpg (954 bytes) Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright 2002 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 01 Dec 2019 12:47:22 -0500.