"Epiphany" (Sugar Shack Records; 2008)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

Like its predecessor, "Epiphany" is classic rock in the vein of Whitesnake, Montrose and Edgar Winter (although not quite as bluesy). It's got a great, classic guitar sound and vocals that are big but never bigger-than-life (think Sammy Hagar). Once again, Bryan Erickson is the driving force here and once again he succeeds handily.

Which tracks are standouts is really up to the individual listener. There are harder-edged rockers here ("The Truth") and slower-burning tunes as well ("Black Rain Falls," "Blind Man"). There are songs where the guitar is the star and songs where the vocals are the star (Erickson particularly shines on "Good Bad Ugly" and the heartfelt "Gone"). And there's enough variation throughout to hold one's attention.

As they did so successfully the first time out, Son of Eric takes their time with "Epiphany," allowing each song its own pace to develop its melody. The faster-paced tunes on this CD aren't really very fast at all but they still manage to rock hard. In fact, only the acoustic closer, "Gone," won't have you banging your head as you listen.

Performing on "Epiphany" are: Bryan Erickson - guitars, keyboards, vocals; Greg Morrow - drums; guitar solos by Todd Duane, Mike Torok, John Lyell, Matt Graunke and Bryan Erickson.

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"Son of Eric" (Sugar Shack Records; 2004)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

Son of Eric is a side project of talented Torok vocalist and guitarist Bryan Erickson. Whereas Torok brought to mind the sounds of KISS and Skid Row, Son of Eric is more reminiscent of Whitesnake and the bluesier side of Cinderella. Interestingly, despite that difference, this CD has a lot in common with Torok's latest - including featuring consistent musicianship and songwriting.

What I like about "Son of Eric" is that the songs hereon are solid, heavily guitar-driven hard rock tunes that are never forced or rushed. Instead, each song is allowed to play out at its own best pace. The songs are peppered with meaty guitar riffs and buoyed by Erickson's smooth powerful vocals. The only downside here is that - although there are no bad songs on the CD - there aren't any that really stand out from the pack either. "Hemlock" and "Go Like Hell" come close. Just a little more variety would have helped.

Still, classic rock fans should find plenty to their liking with Son of Eric.

Interestingly, according to the Torok website, Son of Eric is really more of a "promotional" side-project than anything else. You wouldn't know that from the band's performance and the CD's excellent production. 

Performing on "Son of Eric" are Bryan Erickson - vocals, guitars, Mike Jezmer - drums; Mark Jezmer - bass, Mike Torok - guitar on "Song of Sin."

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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 2009 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.