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Driver: Countdown

Back in the dark mists of time - well 1987 - four musicians came together to form the now largely forgotten super-group M.A.R.S., made up of guitarist Tony MacAlpine, drummer Tommy Aldridge, singer Rob Rock and bassist Rudy Sarzo. The resultant album Project:Driver was in impressive slab of aggressive, guitar led US styled melodic hard rock. However even with the impressive cast list, the album never really captured the imagination of the buying public and M.A.R.S. were consigned to the musical history slot called the bargain bin.

However (in a manner of speaking), keeping the name alive, Rob Rock ploughed on under the band name Driver, recording a much sought after five track demo tape - although it would be 2008 before these songs would get a proper release on the debut Driver album Sons Of Thunder. For that release Rock teamed up with guitarist/producer Roy Z (Bruce Dickinson/Rob Halford), resulting in a harder hitting sound than many expected. A further four years down the line and Driver return again with their second album Countdown, which finds Rock and Z joined by Ed Roth on keyboards, Butch Carlson on drums and Aaron Samson on bass.

The years may have rolled by, but the Driver sound remains remarkably intact, with powerful driven (sorry...) guitars laying the foundation for Rock to let fly with his powerful vocals. Still with both feet planted firmly in the US melodic hard rock market, Countdown positively bristles with energy, much of which is provided by the pinpoint drumming from Carlson. However this really is the Rock and Z show, with the vocals and guitars constantly jostling for supremacy. Making for another hard-hitting, heavy slab of rock. "Cry Of The Wounded" is a prime example, with its mid-paced stomp allowing Roy to really fire out a bristling, punchy guitar solo, as Rock's impassioned vocals hit the mark with ease. Slower tracks like "Always On My Mind" add some welcome restraint, but it is with the heavier, more dramatic tracks such as "Rising Sun" where Driver really make their mark. Across the ten tracks things can start to become a little samey, with a similar blueprint used from song to song, but that doesn't stop Countdown being a welcome return from a vocalist and guitarist who both deserve far more recognition than they currently receive.

Track Listing
1. Return To The Sky
2. Rising Son
3. Countdown
4. Hollywood Shooting Star
5. Thief In The Night
6. Cry Of The Wounded
7. Always On My Mind
8. Feel The Fire
9. Destiny
10. Running From Darkness

Added: May 26th 2012
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Rob Rock Official WebSite
Hits: 2365
Language: english

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