LINE OF FIRE
Released August 10, 2010 (Tribunal Records)
01. It Takes Time
03. Give Me All
04. I’ll Be The One Tonight
05. I Belong
06. The Fire Never Dies
07. I’m Crying For You
08. In The Stone
10. Ghost In Your Heart
11. Breaking The Chains
Shawn Pelata – lead vocals
Nikki Dimage – guitars, keyboards and backing vocals
Thomas Clark – guitars
Ed Darst – guitars and piano
Rob Holder – guitars
Eric Welch – bass
Jeremy Thomas – drums
Produced by Line Of Fire. Executive producer Matthew Rudzinski. Mixed and mastered by Jamie King.
Momentum is the ironically titled sophomore release from North Carolina’s answer to all things Euro MHR/AOR — Line Of Fire. Unfortunately, from what I have gleaned about this group, is that since their debut in 2005 they have been ‘in the line of fire’. With many health, personal and interpersonal issues, it is quite amazing these talented guys — fronted by vocalist Shawn Pelata and guitarist Nikki Dimage — honored us with a second release… but boy am I glad they did and I’m sure you will be too!
Momentum starts off with a full head of seriously melodic, incredibly groove-laden melodic rock and carries that theme throughout! Line Of Fire takes what bands like Triumph, Boston, Journey and Foreigner started in the ’70s, sprinkles in a heavy dose of the melodic rock we loved in the ’80s from such quintessential acts as TNT, Extreme, Nelson, Dokken, and Journey (again) and then adds some of the more modern influences from today like First Signal and FarCry… and adds enough originality and finesse to make them standout in a crowd and certainly keep even the most finicky of fans wanting and wishing for the follow up releases.
This CD is a must have for anyone. I didn’t say anyone who enjoys AOR or melodic hard rock, I said everyone. The band is as tight as a snare drum head, Pelata‘s vocals are quite engaging throughout, with equal doses/elusions to Steve Perry, Tony Harnell, Harry Hess, Rik Emmett and others, but he still keeps everything his own. The guitar stylings of Nikki Dimage and newcomer Thomas Clark are on par (or beyond) the likes of Nuno Bettencourt, Neal Schon, Tom Scholtz or any one of our Scandi brothers who are shredding up and down the frets.
The opening track “It Takes Time”, a remake from a previous Dimage incarnation, is a supreme opener — the heavy rhythm riff, catchy as all hell with its Steve Perry infused vocal performance, but more Triumph or TNT musically — is very melodic and up-tempo with some very poignant lyrical content. Which is the prevailing theme throughout Momentum. “Obsession” is the lead off single and it’s a good one, which is akin to the Journey classic “Separate Ways”. “Give Me All” is another mid-tempo AOR dream full of tasty rhythms and powerful vocals. “I’ll Be The One Tonight” reminds me of Triumph‘s “Magic Power”… yes its that good. “I Belong”, “The Fire Never Dies”, “I’m Crying For You” (some nicely performed piano rhythms in this on) are all done tastefully, with great lyrical content, more powerhouse vocals and choruses and again the playing is just phenomenal.
“In The Stone” is my personal favorite as it is perfect in my mind. It is a nice mid to upper tempo rocker, the guitar work is catchy like the flu and every other aspect of the cut is just a pure melodic AOR dream. “Undone” and “Ghost In Your Heart” are also very strong with the latter giving a big nod towards the Nelson brothers in the chorus and musicianship. The ‘bonus’ track, “Breaking The Chains”, is growing on me, but it throws the flow of the CD off. I mean we have 10 hard driving, harmonically beautiful AOR gems and then a Dokken cover that has been slowed to a crawl and done ‘unplugged’. Now before the hate mail starts, the guys didn’t hack this tune but it just misses the mark for me.
I love this album and the band is damn good! I praised the hell out of the First Signal disc as being the best of 2010, but Momentum from Line Of Fire is surely, if not better, equally as good. Buy this and encourage the band to keep making music, so we can all rant and rave about Line Of Fire‘s next release. Let’s hope the wait isn’t this long, but with that said, if it takes 5 years to get another Momentum out of the boys then I’ll wait!
www.myspace.com/lof – www.tribunalrecords.net
Reviewed by Terry Martinson for Sleaze Roxx, November 2010