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Heavy Harmonies Review|
||Date: March 18, 2003 at 1:34|
|Harlan Cage is at it again...their third magnum opus. I thought they had peaked with Double Medication Tuesday (my #2 album for 1998), I mean how could they possibly surpass the pure AOR genius of that effort? I've been raving about DMT ever since it came out. Well, they've managed to surprise even me. Even if they haven't managed to equal the perfection of DMT, they've come DAMNED close! This is about the closest you will come to AOR (album-oriented rock) in its purest form, what those of us older folks remember as AOR of the late 1970s, as opposed to the AOR (adult-oriented rock) of the 1990s. This album is extremely reminiscent of Journey at its peak (Escape, Frontiers) with a slightly heavier edge. Never fear, the hooks and harmonies are there aplenty...|
Track By Track:
- No Sunday Bride (4:25). Very reminiscent of some of the material on DMT, the keys and strong chorus are present, with a slighly heavier emphasis on the guitarwork, a harbinger of things to come on the album.
- Chinatown (4:28). A guitar intro leads into a kind of moody verse, which builds effectively into a solid chorus. While this isn't the most memorable song on the album, it's not because the track is bad, it's because the others are that good. I like the guitar solo quite a bit.
- Thrill of It All (3:45). I hear early Survivor all over this one. A solid track, but again, not the most memorable, although from the bridge on out it stays pretty darned intense.
- Can't Tame the Raven (4:11). This is first track that truly "blows me away", from the poignant violin intro, to the almost "folklike" verse, into an absolutely THUNDERING chorus! This track does to me what Dearborn Station did to me on DMT. The violin work throughout, combined with a fairly low-key verse offsets the builds into the chorus absolutely perfectly. A very unique song. I can't praise it enough!
- Hard Yellow Line (You Lied to Me) (3:48). Here we start to hear a slightly harder-edged Harlan Cage, a fast-paced tune.
- Last Plane Out (4:25). Another absolute winner! I picture three guys at the front of the stage rocking back and forth to the music. It drives you, a veritable anthem of AOR in its intensity.
- A Little Rain (4:19). Now we relax a bit, a nice mid-tempo ballad. I absolutely love the chorus on this one. A good soul-searcher.
- Feel the Wheel (3:32). Wait a sec! Is this Harlan Cage? This is a heavy rockin' tune, and it works quite well. Definitely guitar-driven, and some great riffs throughout!
- Making My Way Back to You (3:27). A nice piano ballad that builds into a wonderful chorus. In the verse I hear a little bit of Meatloaf's balladry, but the chorus is pure Harlan Cage.
- Late Night Escapades (4:04). Uh oh, put on your seatbelts! We've got another rocker going on...a very dark verse leads into a towering chorus. What's that? The guitars are getting louder??? Hang On!! Another standout track!
- Before the Night is Gone (3:37). *whew* After that last track we nead a breather, and this little ditty provides it quite nicely. An acoustic guitar intro into a *very* Journeyesque ballad verse takes us a wonderful chorus. The lights are down and the cigarette lighters are out for this one.
- Two Ships in the Night (3:53). This rounds out the album wonderfully. Extremely radio-friendly, a bouncy rocker that nevertheless has all the trademark Harlan Cage hooks.
Well, I'm spent. Simply put, this is a phenomenal disc. If I had to pick nits, the *only* downside is that perhaps the production is a bit wanting in spots, but that is a minor criticism which is more than compensated for by the wonderful musicality of the album. Even the tracks above that I earmarked as "ok" or "not memorable" are that simply because they are on this album. Were they to be released on any other disc by any other band they'd be focal points. I can't stress it enough: if you are a fan of vintage Journey and of true AOR the way it used to be, you cannot miss this disc! Congratulations to the band on an exemplary accomplishment!!
Existing comments about this CD
||Date: February 24, 2001 at 4:35|
|One of the greatest bands in aor-land. This cd is my highlight of 1999. I'm gonna check out their earlier work.
||Date: April 28, 2001 at 17:51|
|I thought I'd heard perfection before, but with this album Harlan Cage, for me, have created THE perfect album. Spot on production and every song is a favorite. The lyrics evoke a certain nostalgic feel as the album progresses making it more than just one great song after another, but a heartfelt experience. The world of music is a far better place with Harlan Cage in it.
|From: freddy de keyze
||Date: October 17, 2002 at 3:08|
|As said before, this is one of the finest AOR bands of these days. One of the few that can compete with bands from the seventies and eighties. All their albums are great and a MUST !
||Date: January 20, 2003 at 19:25|
|3rd album and a little better than the second one. No doubt, to me THIS IS the AOR band today, nobody makes better this kind of songs. Great.
|From: Mister Sister
||Date: May 20, 2003 at 17:17|
|THIS IS AOR!!!!. Glorieus keyboards with angels singing praises like heavnes on holy! Burn away your nubreed garbage and play this for neighbors or freinds a like and they will kiss your for making them lovers of aor sounds!
||Date: June 15, 2003 at 2:48|
|So in a nutshell this is the best album of the band's career and easily one of the best releases this year and one of the best albums MTM have released yet. Essential.
||Date: July 2, 2003 at 21:50|
|These guys have really come out rocking on Forbidden Colors, but have not forgotten their AOR base either. The first half of the album sticks close to the formula of the last album - powerful AOR songs, intelligent hooks and melodies - with a couple of exceptions. These tunes are better than ever and the vocals and delivery of the songs exceed anything on the previous two albums.
||Date: April 2, 2004 at 16:35|
|The best Harlan Cage album of the all. A little more "moody" than the previous ones but that only makes it better.
||Date: December 28, 2004 at 9:02|
|unbelievable great music...
||Date: February 11, 2005 at 19:00|
|very hard to pick one Harlan Cage that is the greatest because that is impossible, but, if I had to, I would pick this one. Great AOR/rock/pomp release!!! the keys are fantastic!!! To me, the most solid Harlan Cage album but again they r all wonderful. Standouts are Sunday, Chinatown, Thrill, Raven, Last Plane, A Little Rain, Making my way, and Two Ships. also check out the other H.Cage masterpiece, Double Medication, A classic of the 2000's!!!!!
||Date: February 11, 2005 at 23:03|
|Now this one is easily the best of the first three, IMO. When I got it I loved it, then after a few times I started to hear how similar many songs are and that there is a slight lack of killer punch, but this is slightly "heavier" than the other two and I used to really like 'Chinatown', 'Last plane out', 'A little rain', 'Late night escapades' and 'Two ships in the night'. Now I just like them and would label them the best of this CD. Nice for AOR lovers.
||Date: March 10, 2005 at 14:06|
|IMO the best Harlan Cage CD of them all. Would like to give it a 10 but then the search for the perfect CD would be over.
||Date: November 1, 2005 at 0:11|
|I only have the S/T and this album and I love them both. I have the Japanese version with a bonus track. Very good AOR. I think these guys are very under-appreciated. I never hear a lot about them. I just happened to grab their first release because I found it cheap and wanted to try something new. I'm glad I did.
||Date: October 1, 2007 at 17:07|
|Come on guys, this is overrated. This album is ok but defenetely not 94 rating
||Date: October 17, 2008 at 1:44|
|very good aor cd!!!
||Date: October 21, 2009 at 17:40|
|A decent album all round, but for me 'No Sunday Bride', 'Thrill Of It All' and 'A Little Rain' are breathtaking. There are very few better rock songs out there in my opinion. 'Last Train Out' is very good too. Great stuff.
||Date: June 7, 2011 at 5:45|
|Darker and moodier in places than the first two albums but it's a monster of an album! Still listen to this on a regular basis. Best song; Can't Tame the Raven.
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