This latest album from Canadian Rob Moratti could’ve been a beauty, but not to be. It’s all down to the choice of guitarists.
Written by: gdmonline
ARTIST: Rob Moratti
LABEL: AOR Heaven
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: Canada
LINEUP: Rob Moratti – vocals, production * Torben Enevoldsen – guitars, keyboards * Tony Franklin – bass * Stu Reid – drums
Additional Musicians: Joel Hoekstra, Ian Crichton – lead guitar spots
TRACK LISTING: 01 I’m Falling * 02 Rise Above * 03 What Have We Become * 04 Remember * 05 Where Do We Go From Here * 06 Drifting Away * 07 Break The Chains * 08 Alone Anymore * 09 Bullet Proof Alibi * 10 All I’m Living For * 11 Picking Up The Pieces * 12 Stay Away * 13 What If I (Japan Bonus Track)
WEBLINKS: Site Link
This latest album from Canadian Rob Moratti could’ve been a beauty, but not to be. I’ve said it time and time again about his personnel choices, but this time things have gotten way out of hand, especially the guitar role. You’ll eventually find out more once you read on.
If you refer back to my previous articles on Rob’s albums (click link below) you’ll see this issue is not a one-off thing. The songs themselves are always catchy and ear-friendly, plus I’ve had 20 years to get used to Rob’s high-pitched vocal. No problems there. When the guitar solos kick in my ears go numb. It’s like listening to fingernails on a blackboard. That is the sort of impact that Torben Enevoldsen’s guitar solos have on me, plus on other people’s eardrums too, I’ve been told.
Thankfully Rob has bought in two guest guitarists to flesh out some of the songs. Joel Hoekstra (Night Ranger, Whitesnake) and Ian Crichton (Saga, H30+) provide points of difference but I wish they could have had more impact throughout.
Because of that, this album takes on a Jekyll and Hyde personality. That is: those songs where Enevoldsen plays the solos and those where he doesn’t. With that said, I was looking forward to hearing this album based on last year’s great effort ‘Renaissance’, but this one got knocked down as we progressed through the album tracklist.
The good songs are spotted throughout the album. You just have to find them. For instance, the opener ‘I’m Falling’ is a great scene-setter topped by a fluid solo from Joel Hoekstra and some typical off the scale vocals from Rob. Nice. ‘Rise Above’ is next up, and when Rob sings about ‘walking through the fire’ you have to wonder what the temperature setting is, because this track is hot. Third track ‘What Have We Become’ could’ve been the album highlight if not for our Danish friends guitar intrusion which wrecked everything.
To get a better handle on how Rob’s songs sound so much better with a decent fluid solo take a listen to ‘Remember’. The solo from Joel is killer! The same could be said for the power ballad ‘Where Do We Go From Here’. I’m sure I could detect some eight-fingered tapping from Hoekstra going down. ‘Drifting Away’ and the ballad ‘Break The Chains’ were given the fast forward flick. The scuffy fretboard work from Torben is irritating as anything. There’s more scuffing going on than a car scraping a concrete pilon in a car parking building.
I do like ‘Alone Anymore’, great chorus and vocals, but just apply the noise cancelling switch when the solo kicks in. Interesting that ‘All I’m Living For’ sounds like an old Final Frontier cut, but other than ‘Stay Away’, the remaining two tracks were also a victim of the fast-forward button.
Well, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to understand how I feel about this album. There are a load of good parts yes, but mostly it is spoiled. The sooner Rob takes action about his guitarist role the better.
Look, I know there are a ton of talented European based guitarists that would relish the opportunity to play on an album like this. Rob Moratti’s songwriting and arrangements are superb, he just needs the right six-stringer to elevate these songs into the stratosphere.