WORLD TRADE – Unify

Mixing prog, pop and AOR, the first album by World Trade is somewhat of a cult classic. Showcasing Billy Sherwood’s multi-layered sound, the record is essential listening for fans of ‘Images of Forever’ by Cannata, ‘90125’ era Yes and ‘Hold Your Fire’ era Rush. Given it’s technical approach and sophisticated choruses, it’s no wonder Billy became a member of the Yes family tree a short time later. Six years on, a second World Trade album appeared, but ‘Euphoria’ seemed to not quite match expectations. Maybe it’s because both Guy Allison and Bruce Gowdy had founded AOR band Unruly Child with Marcie Free in the interim and had other interests; maybe it was just a difficult second record. The record, while enjoyable, lacked the focus of the debut and re-used tracks that Sherwood had previously demoed with Chris Squire alongside other material.

With Sherwood having other projects taking his time and also taking on the unenviable position of full time bassist with the ever-touring Yes in 2015, and with Gowdy and Allison having commitments with Unruly Child, it seemed we’d heard the last of World Trade…and then a third album appeared somewhat unexpectedly on Frontiers Records in 2017.

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JACK RUSSELL’S GREAT WHITE – He Saw It Comin’

6PAN1T-C PSDIn the latter part of the twentieth century, Great White made a big impression with their brand of hard rock. Adding a bluesy edge or a slightly glammy sensibility to plenty of crunch, the LA band really showed their teeth on their big selling ‘Twice Shy’ and ‘Hooked’ albums in the early 90s and even their lesser known later works had plenty to recommend them.

Russell’s 2002 solo release ‘For You’ found the vocalist branching out and experimenting with a couple of softer styles in places, but was an equally strong demonstration of his talents. Beyond that, Great White worked hard but often failed to reach the same heights and their career was somewhat marred by in-fighting and legal battles over the band name. Great White (fronted by ex-XYZ man Terry Ilous) released the surprisingly good ‘Elation’ in 2012, while Jack Russell’s Great White continued to ply their trade on the live circuit, eventually – and some would say belatedly – releasing ‘He Saw It Coming’ in 2017.

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PRIDE OF LIONS – Fearless

POLF2017Jim Peterik is a legend. His work on various Survivor albums cements his place in the melodic rock history books, regardless of anything he has written or recorded since the 80s. Tracks like ‘American Heartbeat’, ‘Jackie Don’t Go’, ‘I Can’t Hold Back’ and ‘Poor Man’s Son’ are stone cold classics…and of course, it would take a hard heart not to be amused by the ‘Eye of The Tiger’ video with Survivor attempting to look tough whilst stomping through a warehouse.

Peterik’s post-Survivor projects have, understandably, been less high profile. After all, how can you follow a million selling rock band, radio play and worldwide number one singles?

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THE MURDER OF MY SWEET – Echoes Of The Aftermath

murderDespite claiming to draw influences from early Queen, ELO and Genesis, on their 2015 LP ‘Beth Out of Hell‘, The Murder of My Sweet came across as a really overbearing, second rate Nightwish. The album introduced listeners to a concept about a love affair between good and evil; a theatrical narrative made the material harder to digest than it already would have been…and in terms of both good taste and sanity, a children’s choir was the final straw. In short, ‘Beth Out of Hell’ was an egotistical, bloated effort that once heard (and once was enough) had the potential to cause long term mental trauma.

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SEVEN – Shattered

sevenAfter forming in 1989 – towards the end of melodic rock’s heyday – Seven attracted the attention of the legendary John Parr. With Parr as producer, the Brit AOR band recorded and released two moderately successful singles and subsequently toured with anyone who’d have them. They shared stages with the suitable (Richard Marx) to the questionable (Jason Donovan) and various acts in between . Although there were plans to release an album, the band were subsequently dropped by their record label and soon went their separate ways.

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