The Storm’s 1995 release was a welcoming shining beacon, in what was a pretty hopeless year all around for AOR.
Written by: gdmonline
ARTIST: The Storm
ALBUM: Eye Of The Storm
LABEL: Music For Nations
SERIAL: CDMFN 196
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA
LINEUP: Kevin Chalfant – vocals * Josh Ramos – guitars * Gregg Rolie – keyboards, vocals * Ross Valory – bass * Ron Wikso – drums
TRACK LISTING: 01 Don’t Give Up * 02 Waiting For The World To Change * 03 I Want To Be The One * 04 To Have And To Hold * 05 Livin’ It Up * 06 Love Isn’t Easy * 07 Fight For The Right * 08 Give Me Tonight * 09 Soul Of A Man * 10 What Ya Doing Tonight? * 11 Come In Out Of The Rain * 12 Long Time Coming
Well, if you’re an AOR fan and you haven’t got The Storm CD in your collection, then shame on you. A couple of feather-dusters up under the armpits is your punishment I reckon. Along with the Tour De Force and Artica CD’s, The Storm’s 1995 release was a welcoming shining beacon, in what was a pretty hopeless year all around for AOR.
Yes, the grunge disease was still smothered over the rock populous like a wet blanket, and the results, and overall output showed. As for The Storm, they lived up to their name, going through a few windblown tempests themselves, forming from the ashes of a previous musical phoenix called The View (aka The VU).
The fallout from Beau Hill’s time at Interscope Records (he was essentially sacked), resulted in the loss of a deal for The Storm. You know the old story.. pet producer, pet band, where one goes, the other follows.. well sort of. After the 1991 debut (featured elsewhere on GDM) which featured a tune which went into the top 20 on the Billboard Charts (‘I’ve Got A Lot To Learn About Love’), the band went into a hiatus for a few years.
They didn’t return until 1995, heading off to Berkeley’s Fantasy Studios for another bash at the big time. However, a major label wasn’t forthcoming, so their management (including Journey figurehead Herbie Herbert) opted on a distribution deal with independent label Music For Nations.. at least a guaranteed outlet for their music, mainly to Europe and the UK where most of the interest lay.
Helping out The Storm in lieu of Beau ‘missing in action’ Hill, were the duo of Nigel Green and Bob Marlette, both well known names in the rock scene. One major change with the band four years on: Steve Smith was replaced by the reliable Ron Wikso, who has also seen time with Foreigner and more recently Gregg Rolie’s solo band.
[L-R] Ross Valory, Gregg Rolie, Ron Wikso, Kevin Chalfant, Josh Ramos
If ever there was a band and an album that could’ve been described as the ultimate Journey tribute, then The Storm was probably it.Twelve songs and apart from the odd song, all make a bee-line for your memory banks, such is the repeatability of the material.
Genuine classics include the momentous ‘Fight For The Right’, sounding like primetime Diving For Pearls, plus the smooth radio-friendly AOR of ‘Waiting For The World To Change’. Even the opener ‘Don’t Give Up’ combined with the surging momentum of ‘I Want To Be The One’ will have the CD on repeat-play mode. Then of course a band like The Storm should toss in a ballad or two. ‘To Have And To Hold being the prime example, the other being ‘What Ya Doing Tonight’.
There is the odd gripe with this album: the thinness of Ramo’ guitarwork at times becomes annoying (give this man another distortion pedal please!!), plus some of the arrangements take on a ‘samey’ tone by the time we get toward the end of the disc. But considering what else was on the market in 1995, The Storm still stands head and shoulders above most other albums of that year.