I’m not gonna go on and on once more about all the constellations of Frontiers Records’ projects as there seems to be another one each month. All I can say about All 4 1 is that this is another one. This time, Frontiers’ president Serafino Perugino have gathered lead singer Terry Brock (Strangeways, Giant, Slamer, Brock Roth Project), guitarist Gary Pihl (Boston, Sammy Hagar, Alliance), bassist and vocalist Robert Berry (Three, Alliance) and drummer Matt Starr (Ace Frehley, Mr Big) for yet another melodic hard rock album with the hope that it will transfer into a regular band instead of just a project (at least that’s what I suspect). Some projects – like Revolution Saints, First Signal and Place Vendome – becomes very successful and at least gets a follow-up or two but time will tell how many of them actually turns out to real bands.
Opener “After The Rain” is a plain AOR stomper, not a far cry from Strangeways sound where Brock and Berry shares the lead vocals in a great way. It’s pink and fluffy and a bit on the softer side with a brilliant chorus that sticks like glue. Awesome! The big AOR sound stays with “Cyanide”, but the pop vibes are more obvious here. There’s also a chunk of melodic hard rock, rooted in the mid 1980’s, thrown in. It’s a good song but it doesn’t quite reach its goal with the chorus. “Down Life’s Pages” is an uptempo pop song that sounds like Strangeways meets Paul Laine’s debut album. But just like “Cyanide”, the chorus just don’t carry the tune all the way through. Good but not great.
“Mother Don’t Cry” is a huge power ballad, emotional and heartfelt with a refrain that sports a gigantic hit feel. The song comes across as a mix of Strangeways, Steelheart and Alien and the early 90’s melodic rock vibes would probably had made this a big hit in 1991. A killer tune. “Show Me The Way” is a melodic rocker in a faster pace that brings out a distinct and striking refrain that just screams HIT! Brilliant stuff. “Walk Alone” is a groovy AOR rocker with some funky guitars and a steady beat, not a far cry from Talisman in their more AOR days. The chorus, however, screams of Walk In The Fire era Strangeways. A very good song indeed.
Power ballad #2 is called “Don’t Surrender (To Love)”, a good but pretty standard power ballad with a chorus that tries its best to hit the spot. Unfortunately, it never really hits it – close but no cigar. “Hero In Your Life” on the other hand does exactly that – hits the spot. This smooth AOR / melodic rock tune comes with a soothing melody and a sticky refrain – very good. “Never Back Down Again” is an uptempo melodic hard rock laden groover with a big chorus that would have fitted the Slamer album that Brock sang on like a glove – great! “Who Knows” breaks the mold a bit with its more bluesy influences. It’s still very much AOR but there’s also big pop vibes and I can hear both Dire Straits and Chris Rea in it. I’m not a huge fan of either artists but this song really nails it. The title track that closes the record is a more laid back AOR tune that holds a more dark sound. It’s not very direct but it grows while listening and in the end it turns out to be one of the finer moments on the album.
As a whole, this album sounds pretty much what one can expect from these Frontiers projects. The four musicians involved are, of course, brilliant and the fact that Brock and Berry shares the lead vocals makes for a bit more diversity. Quality wise, the record has its ups and downs, there are some fillers and some great tunes but no actual bad ones but what drags the record down some is that it’s too predictable. Still, if you’re an AOR-fan with a weak spot for bands such as Strangeways and Slamer there’s enough goodies on here to motivate a buy. For me, though, I think the album is good but not great.
1. After The Rain
3. Down Life’s Pages
4. Mother Don’t Cry
5. Show Me The Way
6. Walk Alone
7. Don’t Surrender (To Love)
8. Hero In Your Life
9. Never Back Down Again
10. Who Knows
11. The World’s Best Hope