Pioneering heavy prog outfit Aunt Mary return after many years of silence with a brand new album, titled New Dawn, their first release of new original music since 1973s Janus. Spurred on by the urging of TNT guitarist/producer Ronnie Le Tekro to get the original band back together, Aunt Mary put the plans in motion for a full-fledged reunion in 2013, only to see bass player Svein Gundersen drop out shortly thereafter and both vocalist Jan Groth & drummer Ketil Stensvik pass away from cancer in 2014 & 2015. This left founding member, guitarist Bjorn Kristiansen, as the sole original member still left to carry on the Aunt Mary name, rounded out by new vocalist Glenn Lyse, bassist Bernt Bodal, new drummer Ole Tom Torjussen, and keyboard player Henning Ramseth. Along with this new album New Dawn, the band plan to tour in 2016 with famed metal/hard rock act TNT.
On to the new music, New Dawn is a very modern sounding hard rock/blues rock album, so if you are looking for a replica of their early 70s style, you'll need to check that expectation at the door. That being said, it's a pretty solid set of melodic, rocking tunes, with hints of Cactus, Bad Company, and Deep Purple popping up from time to time, complete with catchy choruses and plenty of gritty, bluesy guitar licks from Kristiansen. "Been There Done That" has a swampy, boogie 'n' booze soaked sound, while the haunting "Soldadera" sees Lyse channeling his inner David Coverdale on this dramatic slice of Deep Purple-meets-Led Zeppelin styled grandeur. Elsewhere, look for crunchy heavy rock on "Slave Parade", the bluesy shuffle of "Don't Keep Me Waiting", and the searing guitar frenzy of "Hopelessly Lost", each an honest and enjoyable example of what rock 'n' roll is all about.
It's pretty clear that Aunt Mary really tried hard to create a modern sounding hard rock/blues rock album here, leaving much of their prog rock flourishes behind, and in the end, it works out fine. "G Flat Road" dabbles a bit in funk & prog with a smattering of bluesy slide guitar, but otherwise much of New Dawn is pretty straightforward and signals a 'new dawn' for this semi-legendary band. Well done guys, and welcome back!
See more about this release on our recent YouTube show!
1) Slave Parade
2) Unconditional Love
3 Hopelessly Lost
4) Happily Ever After
5) G Flat Road
6) I Was Born to Ride on the Wrong Side
7) Open Your Eyes
8) Blind Date
9) Been There Done That
11) Don't Keep Me Waiting