Well Starbreaker is a supergroup, no matter which way you look at it. An impressive lineup with combined resumes to match.
Written by: gdmonline
SERIAL: FRCD 232
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA, Sweden, Italy
LINEUP: Tony Harnell – vocals * Magnus Karlsson – guitar, keyboards * Fabrizio Grossi – bass * John Macaluso – drums
TRACK LISTING: 01 Die For You * 02 Lies * 03 Break My Bones * 04 Crushed * 05 Days Of Confusion * 06 Transparent * 07 Light At The End Of The World * 08 Cradle To The Grave * 09 Underneath A Falling Sky * 10 Turn It Off * 11 Dragonfly * 12 Save Yourself
Well this is a supergroup, no matter which way you look at it. The members of this Starbreaker outfit have spent time (and in some cases continue to do so) with the likes of TNT, Last Tribe, Yngwie Malmsteen, Riot, Ark and Steve Vai.
It’s an interesting assembly, because it straddles the fence between pure heavy metal and melodic hard rock. Yes, I know some of you might be saying ‘so bloody what?’, but these days the dividing line between the two is getting wider and wider, but the glue that holds it all together is their inate sense of melody.
I have to admit, it took me a while to get around to listening to this album. Shame on me, because once I dug deeper, Starbreaker have a lot going for them. A tight as a ducks arse rhythm section, plus the fluid OTT guitar playing of Last Tribe axeman Magnus Karlsson gives this band ample firepower in the musical stakes.
The energy of this band took me way back to 1989 around the time of the debut album from Skid Row, such was the similarity to these ears at least. Of course the man holding it all together is seasoned pro Tony Harnell. The TNT singer once again showing what a fine rock voice he has, and unlike his TNT material, he manages to keep the soaring high-pitched parts in check, preferring instead to keep the voice in the lower realms.
Weird percussion effects and Indian styled rhythms gets Starbreaker underway on ‘Die For You’. The skull-crushingly heavy guitar of Karlsson and pile-driving back-end underpin this tune, embellished by a melodic chorus and a few yeah yeah chants to boot.
‘Lies’ is no different, the insistent metallic riff enough to drive the neighbours to distraction. Despite the title, ‘Break My Bones’ is an extremely melodic offering, and keeping with the party-line is the commercial splendour of ‘Crushed’.
There is great enjoyment to be had with the high-flying pair of ‘Turn It Off’ and ‘Save Yourself’. Both so melodic, but weighed down with heavy dynamic riffs, like the musical equivalent of a black hole. Once you get sucked into tunes this good there is no escape.
A couple of tunes have poignant piano based introductions, such as ‘Days Of Confusion’ and ‘Underneath A Falling Sky’, but this only creates an atmosphere which acts as a layer underneath the principal guitar attack supplied by Karlsson.
All in all, an excellent effort from Frontiers. Yes, along with Blanc Faces this label is starting to weed out the chaff from the crops at long last. Let us hope they become a little more judicious in their roster selection from now on, and not sign every Tom Dick and Harry that comes along.
Starbreaker is an act to make waves in 2005, and allows Harnell to stretch out a bit more than perhaps he can in TNT. You can also hear Karlsson on the new Allen & Lande album ‘The Battle’ which has just been released, again, on the Frontiers label. Starbreaker however, are a welcome addition to the HM ranks.
Die For You