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Bonrud: Save Tomorrow

Bringing together the guitar talent of Paul Bonrud and vocalist Rick Forsgren - the man's nickname "Four Octave" should tell you he has range... - Save Tomorrow is the second album from the lazily named Bonrud, following on from the 2004 self titled debut, which featured Dave Hendricks on vocals. Back to complete the main trio that makes up this outfit is drummer Paul Higgins, but in truth much of Save Tomorrow feels like a chance to showcase the respective talents of Bonrud and Forsgren through a mixture of Journey and Foreigner tinged melodic AOR and harder hitting hard rock almost in the style of a less fiery Scorpions. It is a good fusion of sound and one that Bonrud do well, especially when the list of guest keyboard players is made up of Richard Baker (Santana/Saga), Eric Ragno (Graham Bonnet/Jeff Scott Soto) and Dave Gross. However melodic rock albums stand or fall on their ability to produce quality, memorable songs, resplendent with hooks and brimming with choruses that won't leave you alone no matter how many other albums you listen to. Unfortunately while Bonrud positively brim with slick riffs, burning solos, atmospheric keys and heartfelt vocals, very little of Save Tomorrow sticks with you once it has finished spinning. Yes, "I'd Do Anything" possesses urgency and fire, "Bullet In The Back" bristles with intent and allows "Four Octave" to go all Ronnie James Dio on us and "Blinded" bulges with multi-layered vocals and staccato riffage. However nothing here is just quite as convincing as it hints that it could be. All the constituent parts are in order, all the performances are thoroughly believable and the production and mix courtesy of Keith Olsen (Fleetwood Mac/Ozzy/Sammy Hagar/Foreigner/etc...) is crackingly crystal clear, but never does Save Tomorrow raise itself above being an average, run of the mill 80s rock album that would be spoken of in hushed, revered tones on AOR message boards the world over, while being summarily ignored by everyone else.

If you spend your time trawling ebay and the like for 80s obscurities, you too may be smitten by Save Tomorrow (although I must admit that I do fall into that category and I'm still not convinced). However in essence this is good stuff, decent fare and commendable, without ever having enough danger to become a must have.

Track Listing
1. We Collide
2. Bullet in the Back
3. American Dream
4. Save Tomorrow
5. Liquid Sun
6. I'd Do Anything
7. Last Sunrise
8. Torn Apart
9. Blinded
10. Dominoes
11. You're the One
12. End of Days

Added: October 28th 2012
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Bonrud Online
Hits: 2614
Language: english

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Bonrud: Save Tomorrow
Posted by Brice Ezell, SoT Staff Writer on 2012-10-28 13:26:46
My Score:

One wouldn't think that Foreigner and anime are two worlds that overlap, but Bonrud's Save Tomorrow has the latter on its cover and the former heavily seasoning its power-metal sonic. The anime sleeve art doesn't fit in whatsoever with the music within, but it's really the only thing tying this record to the present day.

Seattle-by-way-of-Minneapolis based Bonrud purvey in the kind of power metal that's quite popular in Europe at the moment, especially in Italy, but there's an undeniable American influence on these twelve songs. The dream of the '80's is alive with Save Tomorrow, especially on the title track, which merges the radio rock stylings of Foreigner with a liberal dash of hair metal and power rock. Though it's not wrong to call this "power metal," it's not really all that hard rocking of an album.

While it's just fine to like Foreignerócount this critic guilty as chargedóit's another thing to be nostalgic for them. Bonrud's grasp on the '80's heavy sonic is impressive (see the Dragonforce-esque vocal stylings of the not at all ridiculously named Rick "Four Octave" Forsgren"), and for those still pining for a revival for the music of twenty-five years ago, then by all means give Save Tomorrow a spin. Many of the hooks here are pretty great, and there's no doubt these guys have chops. But where this LP goes wrong is in toeing the ever-difficult line between homage and pastiche; there's an overwhelming amount of the latter here, to the point that instead of reminding us why '80's hard rock and its contemporary variants are so memorable, it just copies them in a one-dimensional fashion. Bonrud have the potential for something better than this, but first they need to hone in a voice that's all their own rather than the voice that's present on Save Tomorrow, which is in such debt to its predecessors that all one can think about is how this music sounds like other people, not like Bonrud.

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