Jimi Jamison'S Survivor - Empires

Jimi Jamison’s Survivor – Empires

82 / 100

It’s a bit of a saga really, who’s version of Survivor is the real authentic one? Does Jimi Jamison have the rights to carry the name, all this and more.

Written by: gdmonline

ARTIST: Jimi Jamison’s Survivor
ALBUM: Empires
LABEL: Frontiers
YEAR: 1999
CD REISSUE: 2003, Frontiers, FRCD 153

LINEUP: Jimi Jamison – vocals * Chris Adamson – guitars * Hal Butler – keyboards * Klay Shroedel – drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Cry Tough * 02 Run From The Thunder * 03 I’m Always Here * 04 Empires * 05 First Day Of Love * 06 Have Mercy * 07 Just Beyond The Clouds * 08 A Dream Too Far * 09 Love Is Alive * 10 November Rain * 11 Calling America * 12 Burning Heart * 13 Rebel Son



It’s a bit of a saga really. Who’s version of Survivor is the real authentic one? Who has the rights to carry the name? All this and more. Thrown into the equation is the talk of a Survivor reunion, and the release of two Survivor albums from the two separate camps: this one from Jimi Jamison, the other from Frankie Sullivan, perhaps deemed to be the real incarnation. In any case, Jimi’s beaten everyone to it by getting this album released on a European label. And the verdict, surprisingly good. In fact very good.

I wasn’t really a fan of his 1991 solo album ‘When Love Comes Down’ which was bit too earthy for my liking. But it’s been some time since then, and his current version of Survivor is a full-on hard rockin’ band of the best sort, including ex Creed member Hal Butler, and their origins are set very much in the late 80’s melodic mould. Jamison’s vocals cascade over the material with an authority that only the best frontmen can do.

The Songs

Yes, the songs themselves are spacious, and make for some compelling listening if you’re a fan of mid-80’s AOR. The guitars are hefty, the keyboards prevalent but unobtrusive, and the drums are very upfront in the mix. There’s a lot to like about the sound, and thankfully it’s a not a carbon copy of the original Survivor, and it’s only when they heavy it up a bit do they sound close to a band like Von Groove.

There’s a mix of all out rockers weighed in with a good dose of ballads and softer songs. Jamison is one of those fortunate individuals who sounds good singing in either mode. Rock solid tracks include the immense ‘Cry Tough’ and it’s follow up ‘Run From The Thunder’. The heaviest track would be ‘First Day Of Love’ with some rather crunching guitar.

Some of the medium to heavy moments include the pompous sounding ‘Calling America’ (a Tom Cochrane written track), the keyboard dominated ‘A Dream Too Far’ and the stop start affair which is ‘Have Mercy’. We finally get a CD release of his Baywatch tune ‘I’m Always Here’ though this is not the original.

A cover of Gary Wright‘s ‘Love Is Alive’ is attempted, but it’s not that special. Try the Eyes version on their ‘Windows Of The Soul’ album which is far superior. Elsewhere we have an outstanding duet ballad called ‘Empires’ sung with Lisa Frazier, while a couple of Survivor tracks ‘Burning Heart’ and ‘Rebel Son’ get a live workout toward the end of the album.

In Summary

This is all good stuff, and there is some creditable material onboard, but ultimately when you stack it up against the original you know which one will stand the test of time. And judging from talk between the rival factions, it seems this version ain’t gonna go any further, as it appears Jamison has hooked up again with Messr Sullivan and co for the real ‘Mc Coy’ version of Survivor. Whats that saying.. ‘watch this space’.

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