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"Signs of Life" (Frontiers / Now & Then)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

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Synthesizer-heavy prog/melodic rock that sounds a lot like Journey with a little Boston and Whitesnake thrown in. Especially "Desperate Heart" which sounds so close to Journey's "Any Way You Want It" you'll almost swear it's a sub-chorus to that song.

Not bad in the long run, especially considering the talented band at work here, but for some reason "Signs of Life" sounds more like a deliberate attempt at creating radio-friendly hits than a complete creative project. This is especially distracting because, according to the liner notes, "Signs of Life" is about "... a girl dealing with all the pressures of growing up nowadays." The CD's positive message and uplifting attitude are to be commended but, unfortunately, it never really grabs the listener. Maybe after repeated listenings, the various melodies would take hold but it's getting past more than one listening that's important up front.

Maybe it's just that one would expect a little more from a supergroup containing members of Zebra, Kansas, Blue Oyster Cult and Dio.

Still, fans of melodic and progressive rock'n'roll, particularly in the vein of Journey, will find lots to like within the digital bits of "Signs of Life." Others looking for more aggression and power should definitely look elsewhere.

The Sign: Terry Brock - lead vocals, guitar; Randy Jackson - guitar, mandolin, lead vocals; Mark Mangold - keyboards, vocals; Billy Green - bass, vocals; Bobby Rondinelli - drums.

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 2003 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 01 Dec 2019 12:47:24 -0500.