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Talon: III

American melodic rockers Talon return for their third release very simply titled III on Escape Music. It's been a few years since we've last seen this outfit, but they are back and regrouped with a line-up of Shawn Pelata (Lead and Backing Vocals), Kory Voxen (Rhythm Guitar, Acoustic Guitar), Jim Kee (Lead Guitar), Phil Keller (Bass Guitar), Eric Ragno (Keyboards), and John Parker (Drums).

New singer Pelata, fresh from the band Line of Fire, does a fine job here, soaring to the heavens on cuts "The Last Time", "Did You Have to Say", "Crying to Me", and the grinding rocker "Everytime". Veteran vocalist Jeff Scott Soto does a guest lead vocal on the pretty heavy number "Take You All the Way", and as always it's great to hear this talented singer. The rest of the album features a mix of ballads and rockers, each one with catchy hooks and crisp guitar work from Voxen & Kee. "You Got What it Takes" reminds of some of the heavier fare from Journey, and the band even contributes a solid cover of Jefferson Starship's classic "Jane".

III is ultimately a fun melodic hard rock release from Talon, not something that's going to set the world on fire, but enjoyable for what it is and worth checking out.

Track Listing
1- Crying To Me
2- The Last Time
3- Did You Have To Say
4- Everytime
5- Take You All The Way
6- Maybe One Day
7- You Don't Know Me At All
8- Walk Away
9- Brothers
10- When Will I
11- You Got What It Takes
12- Jane

Added: January 4th 2012
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Escape Music
Hits: 1760
Language: english

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Talon: III
Posted by Steven Reid, SoT Staff Writer on 2012-01-03 18:29:43
My Score:

Morphing out of the band Voxen, Talon released their self titled debut album through Now&Then/Frontiers Records nearly a decade ago, with their Michael O'Mara (Joshua) fronted gritty, yet Melodic Rock catching the favour of the critics. Six years later Fallen Angels, this time led by the voice of Chandler Mogul (Outloud), appeared on the Kivel imprint, before a further long period of silence ensued. Waiting five years to break that silence this time, Talon release the unimaginatively titled III, with the core of the group Kory Voxen (guitars), Jim Kee (lead guitar), Phil Keller (bass) and John Parker (drums), being augmented this time by the Melodic Rock keyboard go-to-guy Eric Ragno and singer Shawn Pelata (Line Of Fire), who is billed as "guest" vocalist (to add to the confusion O'Mara returned to give a storming performance with the band at this year's Firefest).

So with that convoluted story out of the way, the only thing that matters is that Talon have once again come up with a striking mixture of Melodic Rock that verges into AOR and Heavy Rock ala Yngwie J Malmsteen, or Scorpions. Cleverly while there are some songs among the eleven and a bonus track on show here that lean more overtly towards one aspect or the other of the band's sound, Talon manage to make most of the songs on III come across as Melodic Heavy AOR Rock - if you know what I mean...? The guitar pairing of rock solid rhythm provider Kory Voxen and blistering lead liege Jim Kee make for crunching, aggressive attack, however the ever present keyboard work from Ragno really adds an atmospheric melody that brings a subtlety and accessibility to this album that would be otherwise missing. The results are a refreshing blend that while far from innovative, does set Talon out as a band capable of appealing to AOR fans and Rockers alike. "Crying To Me" sets this album's stall out in fine style, with Deep Purple like Hammond stabs and punchy guitars allowing Pelata's rasping, yet kind of Ted Poley (Danger Danger) like delivery room to settle between the brash riff and soothing keys. It is a completely convincing start and while not everything on III is quite up to that standard, it is a good benchmark of the type of bristling Melodic Rock Talon create so well.

Other highlights show up in different guises with "Did You Have To Say" veering more overtly into AOR territory, while "Maybe One Day" is the sort of slower number that the Scorp's love to croon over. On the other hand "The Last Time" adds hints of guitar virtuoso (and current UFO axe-master) Vinnie Moore to the smoother edged music, giving the same sorts of results that Yngwie Malmsteen did with either Joe Lynn Turner or Mark Boals fronting his guitar histrionics. Surprising though it is, the end results are actually completely convincing, not only showing Kee at his six-string best, but also Talon at their most cohesive. The same should have been said for "Take You All The Way" which finds the wonderful Jeff Scott Soto lending a guest vocal on a similarly aimed track. However it is actually the least inspired number on the whole album, which it has to be said is a huge missed opportunity for all concerned. Special mention goes to the stonking cover version of Jefferson Starship's "Jane" which closes the album out in mighty style, which while being true to the fantastic original version, does do so in a far more guitar led manner.

III is a strong statement from a band who over their decade and a bit together have really struggled to capitalise on the undoubtedly excellent music they've created. Mainly that's been down to the stop start nature of the band, something that hopefully won't afflict Talon this time round - although with O'Mara's is he - isn't he return to the band, I wouldn't bet on it.

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