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Moratti; Rob: Victory

Blaze Bayley, Tim "Ripper" Owens, David Reece, Rob Moratti. What do they have in common? Well they all had a stab at replacing a hugely established singer in a classic band and came off the worse for doing so. There's an argument that all four's failure was more to do with the music that their respective band of the time produced rather than their actual vocal ability, but none the less all are seen as taking part in the low point of their respective band's history. So with the quartet of vocalists mentioned all reasonably quickly ousted from their "big-break", their respective future's could actually be seen as rather contrasting, with "Ripper" using his time with Judas Priest as a spring board to making a real go of being a respected vocalist, Bayley struggling to make an impact, even though his solo albums are actually damn fine, while Reece has only recently made a comeback after many years out of the limelight.

So after his less than celebrated stint in melodic progressive legends Saga (personally I really liked Human Condition, but I know I'm in the minority there), what does the future hold for Rob? Well judging by Victory, it looks bright, in fact almost dazzlingly so. Before he joined Saga, Moratti had been known for fronting the melodic rock/AOR act Final Frontier and with this album he has gone back to those roots and in fine style. Victory is crammed with hook laden, upbeat songs that highlight the bright and classy vocals that must have caught Saga's eye in the first place. However with a backing band in place made up of guitarist Reb Beach (Whitesnake/Winger) bassist Tony Franklin (The Firm/Blue Murder) and drummer Brian Doerner (Saga), along with keyboard player Fredrick Bergh and guitarist/keyboard player Christian Wolff, it is no surprise that you can rest assured that the music is mighty fine as well.

Moratti's vocals are right at the front of the mix and if his motivation was to emphasize to his detractors just what a fine voice he has, then it has been achieved and then some, but this album is no vanity project. Take a quick listen to "Power Of Love", "Hold That Light" or "Jennie" to hear some of the catchiest and classiest melodic rock songs released so far this year, actually any year in a long time. As a reference point for what you can expect to find, I found myself singing the Kansas track "Fight Fire With Fire" from the John Elefante fronted Drastic measures album after my first listen through to this disc, with the opening track here "Life On The Line" being quite a close comparison to that song. This is no copycat disc though, with Beach and Wolff adding a harder edge to the guitar work and some stunning solos, which really separates this album from the many acts cluttering this space in the market right now.

Rob Moratti may well go down as a footnote in the history of Saga, but there is no doubt that he has moved on from there, or that he has much more to offer. Slick, smooth and utterly addictive, Rob Moratti has scored quite a considerable Victory with this album. Hopefully it is the first of many.

Track Listing
1.Life On The Line
2.Everything But Good Bye
4.Power Of Love
5.Hold That Light
6.On And On
7.Take It All Back
8.I Promise You
9.Standing On The Top Of The World
11.Now More Than Ever

Added: June 17th 2011
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Rob Moratti
Hits: 2213
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Moratti; Rob: Victory
Posted by Pete Pardo, SoT Staff Writer on 2011-06-17 14:17:58
My Score:

Victory indeed...vocalist Rob Moratti's first solo album after his brief stint with Saga on their Human Condition album can be seen as a triumph after what turned out to be a quick blip in the Canadian proggers history before the sudden return of Michael Sadler. On Victory, Moretti shows that he has the goods to deliver a lush, vibrant, hard rock/AOR styled album, brimming with catchy hooks, crunchy guitars, and powerful vocals.

Plenty of exciting rockers to go around here, such as "Everything But Goodbye", "Life On the Line", and "Power of Love", but it's the 80 styled numbers like "Life Time" , "Hold That Light", and "I Promise You", with their obvious Journey/Foreigner/Survivor influences, that really take you back to to a time when hard rock and pop combined to create some real musical magic. Those who like heavier fare should love the Deep Purple/Uriah Heep styled rocker "On and On", complete with beefy guitar and keyboard riffs to go along with Moratti's soaring vocals.

If this was 1987, Victory would certainly get a lot of attention, but hopefully all those now older 80's rock fans get a chance to stumble upon this little gem, as there's a wealth of solid material here.

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