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AOR: L.A. Temptation

To name your band or project so bluntly after the genre which you are hoping to represent is a huge risk. It would be like calling your band Heavy Metal, or Progressive Rock, but one thing that Frederic Slama has never shied away from is his love, respect and dedication to all things AOR and indeed West Coast. Unbelievably L.A. Temptation is the eleventh album from AOR, a project that has at one point or another included nearly all of the main players in the AOR and West Coast world. This time out the core band is Slama, who plays guitars and keys, with Paul Sabu being credited with vocals and "all" instruments, while the busiest session man in melodic rock, Tommy Denander adds his unmistakable guitar edge, along with his less known bass and drums skills! However that is just the tip of a massive iceberg that would take this entire review to melt out all of its star names, so let's just say that the likes of Michael Landau, Bruce Gaitsch, David Mark Pearce and Stefano Lionetti are amongst the guitarists on show, Alessandro Del Vecchio provides some of the keyboards, and the likes of Martin Karlsson and Mike Baird add bass and drums respectively. If you need me to tell you who these guys are, then you're reading the wrong review!

As mentioned Paul Sabu may well be credited with vocals, but he only takes out and out lead on a pair of tracks, the sumptuous Whitesnake-lite of "Devil In Disguise" where the dancing keyboards star, and "Outside Heaven", which broods and smoulders through the rasping vocals and sharp riff. However if the musician cameo list is impressive, then a vocal line-up that includes James Christian (House Of Lords), Philip Bardowell (Unruly Child), Chris Ousey (Heartland), Goran Edman (Brazen Abbot/Yngwie Malmsteen), Hank Erix (Houston), Jerry Hludzik (Dakota), Rick Riso and Joey Summer shines even more brightly.

One of the lesser known names, Summer, gives a standout performance on the bright breezy "When The Darkness Falls", but then he's closely followed by the mid-paced easy-osy of "A Heartbeat Away" where Christian gives a trademark authoritative display. While Hludzik also stars on the more West Coast oriented "Hold Back The Dawn" where the melody line catches you and holds you spellbound throughout. However, unlike previous AOR releases, this is actually one of the fewer light touches, with a more boisterous Journey, or Foreigner attack being the order of the day this time round. But don't worry as that doesn't stop the whole album coming together superbly into one cohesive listening experience, even with so many revolving doors rotating musicians in and out.

Special mention needs to go to Sabu and Denander, and the most used vocalist Edman for providing such a strong backbone for the other musicians to work off, with Edman's contributions to "Above Suspicion", "Second Chance At Love" and the excellent duet with Erix, "The Price To Pay" confirming him as a vocalist of the highest calibre. Although there's no getting away from the fact that the real star has to be Frederic Slama for continuing to create invigorating music that convinces in a way that few AOR/West Coast projects or bands do these days. Long may his AOR and L.A. fixation continue.


Track Listing
1) NO MARGIN FOR ERROR : Philip Bardowell
2) ABOVE SUSPICION : Göran Edman
3) FROM L.A TO PARIS : Chris Ousey
4) A HEARTBEAT AWAY : James Christian
5) SILENT VICTORY : Paul Shortino
6) NO ONE'S GONNA HURT ME ANYMORE : Rick Riso
7) SECOND CHANCE AT LOVE : Göran Edman
8) OUT ON THE STREETS : Paul Sabu
9) HOLD BACK THE DAWN : Jerry Hludzik
10) THE PRICE TO PAY : Hank Erix & Göran Edman
11) OUTSIDE HEAVEN : Paul Sabu
12) WHEN THE DARKNESS FALLS : Joey Summer

Added: November 30th 2012
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Score:
Related Link: Frederic Slama Online
Hits: 1700
Language: english

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