Ten ‘Albion” Review by Blast Magazine
Albion (Ancient Greek: Ἀλβίων) is the oldest known name of the island of Great Britain. Today, it is still sometimes used poetically to refer to the island. The name for Scotland in the Celtic languages is related to Albion: Alba in Scottish Gaelic, Albain in Irish, Nalbin in Manx and Alban in Welsh, Cornish and Breton.
‘Albion‘ is the first Ten release Blast Magazine has reviewed since the release of ‘Babylon‘ which was released on August 28, 2000. This ten song CD is a complete master piece!!!! I mean there is not and I mean not a bad song on this CD. ‘Albion‘ is one of those melodic metal CD’s you can put in and listen to it from beginning to end without skipping a track. Lyrically and vocally Gary is in top form and at the top of his game. He sounds just as good today has he did the first time I heard him in 2000. This is one release you absolutely have to have!!!!
Track By Track Review:
1.) “Alone In The Dark Tonight”
Over the top of the rhythm guitar arrangement of the intro section there was a minor lead guitar solo. I just loved the sound they got from the minor lead guitar solo. The last note of the rhythm guitar arrangement along with the minor lead guitar solo of the intro was done with a whole-note that runs underneath the opening lyric line. The musical pre-verse consisted of just a keyboard arrangement and vocals. There was a small tom-tom fill connecting the musical pre-verse with the verse. The bass and drum lines along with the rhythm guitars kick-in for the musical verse. The musical verse consisted of a keyboard arrangement change. Though the keyboard arrangement change really did not matter because when the rest of the instruments kick-in the keyboard gets a little washed out. There was a couple small lead guitar licks connecting the musical verse with the musical chorus. It sounded as if two of the guitarists played these lead licks. The way the lyrics were arranged for the chorus gave the chorus a huge Gary Hughes hook. It sounded as if Max switch to a double-bass shuffle pattern for the musical chorus. The drum line of the verses consisted of Max playing a sixteenth-note opening and closing hi-hat pattern. After the second verse, the chorus is repeated twice before going into the lead guitar solo. The lead guitar solo was very melodic ending with several intense lead guitar licks. Over the top of the last few lead guitar notes there were a couple lead vocal lines. Over the top of the keyboard of the coda there was a very simple acoustic guitar rhythm.
Instead of a musical intro this track opened with a vocal line over the top of a keyboard riff. There were a couple of measures of just music between the opening vocal line and the musical verse. I guess you could call these measures a musical intro. The rhythm guitar riffs of this section had a huge eighties hard rock sound to them. Underneath this rhythm guitar arrangement Max hits a couple cymbal crashes. Instead of using regular cymbals Max used his china boy cymbal. Underneath the vocals of the first measure of the verse there was a keyboard arrangement along with a very simple electric guitar arrangement. The entire band kicks-in underneath the vocal lines of the second measure of the verse. The drum line for the verse consisted of a double-bass drum pattern. There was a musical arrangement change for the musical chorus. Gary’s vocals of the choruses have a huge hooks attached to them. The rhythm guitar that connecting the opening lyric line with the musical verse was the same one the band used to connect the first chorus with the second verse. Underneath the second verse there were two different rhythm guitar arrangement. One was a distorted rhythm and the second was done with a clean electric picking arrangement. The lead guitar solo connected the second chorus with the third chorus. The solo consisted of two of the guitarist. The way it was arranged consisted of one guitarist, then the other, then both. The second guitarists solo was more intense than the first. After I believe the third chorus there was a second lead guitar solo section. Though this was a minor solo and consisted of only one guitarist, some of the notes played were more intense than the major solo.
3.) “It’s Alive”
The intro to this track opened with a keyboard effect. The way the keyboard was programmed gave it a special effects sound of a spaceship. For the main body of the intro the special effects of the keyboard continued while over the top of it there was a very melodic eighties influence rhythm guitar arrangement. The bass and drum line kick-in for the musical verse. Underneath the opening lyric line of the verse there was a rhythm arrangement change. This rhythm guitar arrangement change had a very simple laid back feel to it. There was a musical rest that consisted of a lead guitar lick connecting the musical verse with the musical chorus. The choruses of this track are the first ones that consist of actual backing vocals. The last lyric of the choruses had a vocal echo attached to them. After the second chorus there was a repeat of the musical intro. This repeated musical intro lead to the lead guitar solo. This lead guitar solo was very reminiscent in sound and arrangement to many of the solos Vinnie Vincent wrote while he was with Vinnie Vincent’s Invasion. The coda ended with a progamming effect.
4.) “Albion Born”
The opening measure of this track consisted of eight alternating vocal lines between lead vocals and backing vocals. The next measure consisted of vocals along with a keyboard arrangement. After the fourth lyric line a snare drum pattern kicks-in underneath the keyboard arrangement. The vocals of this track in many ways reminded me of some of the stuff Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden sang on Iron Maiden’s ‘Dance Of The Dead’ release on September 2, 2003. After the second measure, there was a minor lead guitar solo over the top of a rhythm guitar arrangement. The minor lead guitar solo of this song was reminiscent of the solos that the three Iron Maiden guitarists have written. Over the top of the minor lead guitar solo Gary sings a vocal accent. This vocal accent had an echo attached to it. There was a tom-tom pattern underneath the last few notes of the minor lead guitar solo. The lyrical verse was arranged with eight lyric lines sang by Gary. In between each lyric line there was a repeat of that lyric line with backing vocals. Underneath the lead vocal lines of the chorus there was a minor lead guitar solo. After the chorus there was a huge yet short major lead guitar solo. The drum line of the choruses was played with a snare drum pattern. There was a minor lead guitar solo over the top of the coda.
5.) “Sometimes Love Takes The Long Way Home”
This was an amazing ballad!
6.) “A Smuggler’s Tale”
This song completely blew me away!!!!!
7.) “Die For Me” (First Radio Single Release)
The rhythm guitar of this intro section was very reminiscent to the rhythm riffs John Sykes was writing on Whitesnakes 1984 release titled ‘Slide It In’. Over the top of the rhythm guitar arrangement of the intro Gary sings a huge David Coverdale influenced vocal accent. After the vocal accent Max plays eight quarter-notes on the ride cymbal. Once the main drum line and bass line kick-in the song really takes on a Whitesnake sound. In fact, this section sounds so much like Whitesnake I think the most die-hard Whitesnake would even think that’s who it is. The musical verse had a very cool bass line. Gary carries the Coverdale feel through the verses. At the end of the musical verse there were several lead guitar licks attached to the rhythm guitar rhythm. The chorus had a very simple yet huge hook attached to it. After the second chorus there was a John Sykes influenced lead guitar solo. After the lead guitar solo there was a breakdown section. Once you hear this song it does not take an Einstein to figure out why the label made the decision to make it the first single.
8.) “It Ends This Day”
Though good this track was a little on the weird side.
9.) “Gioca D’Amoure”
Translation For Love of the Game. This was an amazing ballad that shows the vocal talent Gary has!
10.) “Wild Horses”
This track opens with the special effects of a heart beating. After the effect is repeated nine times, a keyboard arrangement kicks-in. As it progresses, the heart beat effect turns into the bass drum. It is at this time the bass line kicks-in. The bass line for the verses were amazing. There were times when Gary double-tracked his lead vocals. The band kicks-in for the musical chorus. The choruses had a very simple hook attached to them. For the second verse Max switched his hi-hat pattern to a sixteenth-note hi-hat pattern. Max got an amazing sound from his hi-hat. Underneath the lyrics of the second pre-chorus there was a minor lead guitar solo. The backing vocals of this track were amazing. After the second chorus there was a keyboard solo. Over the top of the coda there was a lead guitar solo.