Don Airey has been one of the most in-demand keyboard players for for well over 30 years. He has recorded with and been a member of so many classic acts, such as Ozzy Osbourne, Rainbow, Whitesnake, UFO, Jethro Tull, Colosseum II, Gary Moore, MSG, and many others, as well as the current keyboard player in the legendary Deep Purple. Here on his third solo release All Out, Airey indeed goes 'all out' and delivers one hell of a hard rock record that features not only his stellar keyboard playing, but also some killer guitar work and vocals from friends like Carl Sentance, Bernie Marsden, and Joe Bonamassa. Bass is handled here by veteran Laurance Cottle, additional guitar by Rob Harris, and drums courtesy of Darrin Mooney.
Opener "The Way I Feel Inside" is a surging hard rock piece with some great vocals from Sentance and tasty guitar licks from former Whitesnake member Marsden. Throw in Airey's tasty Hammond riffs and you have a great track to kick off the CD in grand Deep Purple/Rainbow/Whitesnake fashion. "Estancia" sees Airey going into full Keith Emerson mode, as this one is a wild Hammond fueled instrumental that will blow the minds of any ELP fan. On "People in Your Head", the keyboard player teams up with Black Country Communion blues rock shredder Bonamassa, and the results are astounding. Joe's ripping solos play off Airey's commanding Hammond organ and Sentance's fiery vocals for a lethal BCC/Purple styled hard rocker. Easily one of the highlights of the CD! Harris delivers some nice melodic lead guitar lines on the jazzy instrumental "B'Cos", and "Running From the Shadows" is a catchy Whitesnake/Uriah Heep styled rocker which again features Marsden on lead guitar. Look out for another blistering prog/fusion number, this one called "Right Arm Overture", which allows Airey to pull out all the stops on Hammond as well as synths. Again, a must hear for ELP fans.
I could have done without the cover of Jimi Hendrix' "Fire", as it's a song that has been done to death and was really uneccesary here. "Long Road" is a majestic instrumental that recalls Gary Moore, and features Don's brother Keith on lead guitar. "Wrath of Thor" is a crushing hard rock/metal piece that recalls 80's Black Sabbath, Gillan, or Uriah Heep, filled with Harris' heavy riffs and Airey's raging Hammond, and "Tobruk" closes the CD in epic fashion, with Airey's grand piano starting things off before the heavy riffs, surging Hammond, and powerful vocals lead the charge through nearly 11-minutes of classic hard rock and prog. Think ELP meets Deep Purple!
Other than the slight misstep with "Fire", I have to say this is a near perfect album and a complete surprise here in early 2012 (though it was a 2011 release that we didn't get a hold of till very late in the year). We always knew Don Airey was a master player, but he's written some stellar classic styled hard rock here and assembled a fine cast of players on All Out , all of which makes this a total winner of a CD.
1. The Way I Feel Inside (04:23)
2. Estancia (05:37)
3. People in Your Head (05:00)
4. B'cos (04:54)
5. Running From the Shadows (03:41)
6. Right Arm Overture (07:12)
7. Fire (05:12)
8. Long Road (04:34)
9. Wrath of Thor (04:25)
10. Tobruk (10:29)