For his first solo album, Chilean vocalist Ronnie Romero took the easy route and put together a covers album. To be fair, it’s not like he had anything to prove; in the year before its recording, he’d already recorded well-received albums with both Lords of Black and The Ferrymen. He wasn’t about to spend much time coasting along recycling other peoples’ classic rock works either, since he then released an album with his other band Sunstorm, which hit the shelves barely four months later.
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SUNSTORM – Brothers In Arms
When the legendary vocalist Joe Lynn Turner stepped away from Sunstorm in 2020, it could have been the end of the line for the much loved melodic rock band. After all, his departure not only left them without their distinctive voice, it also led to a band with no original members. In addition, Joe was the reason why most people loved Sunstorm in the first place. For these reasons, for Sunstorm to continue seemed like a strange decision. However, they battled on, thinking that Sunstorm name would be enough alone to shift a few units.
After securing the talented but busy Ronnie Romero in 2021, the band secured not only another top drawer singer – capable of tackling a broad range of styles – but also someone who’d technically filled Joe’s shoes when Ritchie Blackmore decided to revive the Rainbow moniker. On paper, Ron was perfect for the Sunstorm job. Since they were attempting to replace the irreplaceable, the reality could have been different, but between some well written songs and Romero in great form, the new-look Sunstorm’s ‘Afterlife’ was a solid affair, regardless of whatever band name happened to be on the box. It was certainly good enough to suggest that Sunstorm had a future without Turner.
RONNIE ROMERO – Raised On Radio
Ronnie Romero is one of those vocalists who never seems to stop working. Between the beginning of 2016 and the end of 2021, he released three albums with his own prog metal band Lords of Black, two as frontman with power metal collaborative The Ferrymen (featuring the multi-talented Magnus Karlsson), an album apiece with Sunstorm and Vandenberg, embarked on major tours with Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow and even guested with Michael Schenker.
LORDS OF BLACK – Alchemy Of Souls, Part II
After his associations with Ritchie Blackmore came to an end, vocalist Ronnie Romero didn’t take any time out to reflect on the loss of his highest profile job to date. Instead, he threw himself further into his work. In 2020 he reconvened with his old band, Lords of Black, and released the heavy, semi-theatrical ‘Alchemy of Souls, Part 1’; gained a job as frontman with the new-look Vandenberg; forged associations with Michael Schenker’s revolving cast of stars, and became a member of Milan Vrabevski’s Intelligent Music Project. For most people, this would already represent too much of a heavy workload, but on top of that, Romero also took on the job of being Joe Lynn Turner’s replacement in the much-loved Sunstorm. Their sixth album ‘Afterlife’ (released in the first half of 2021) was much better than it had any right to be, and cemented Ron’s reputation as a reliable and committed performer. One thing was for certain: he didn’t need Blackmore.
RITCHIE BLACKMORE’S RAINBOW – Memories In Rock II
When Ritchie Blackmore announced his intentions to return to rock music with a reformed Rainbow in 2015, understandably, the press and the fans got excited. At that time, it had been a couple of decades since the legendary guitarist had recorded anything resembling the hard rock music that had given him worldwide fame. Since calling time on a new version of Rainbow in the mid 90s, he’d been more interested in medieval and folk styles – something which brought him cult success with his partner Candace Night, resulting in eight albums under the Blackmore’s Night banner. Some fans enjoyed this new phase in his career; others hoped he’d return to his roots. With each passing year, that seemed unlikely, so it’s no wonder the decision to resurrect Rainbow got almost everyone all agog.