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Frontline: Heroes

Releasing their debut album, The State Of Rock, in 1994 (also recently reissued as part of this campaign), Germany’s Frontline would dig deep into the classic melodic rock sound; Journey an obvious, strong and impressive influence on the band. Putting out the Japanese only acoustic album, Two Faced, in ‘95, the follow up proper, Heroes, would find the band deeply embroiled in label issues and as such would again only appear in the land of the rising sun. Now reissued by AOR Heaven in a limited run of 1000 CDs, while revealing a slightly tougher outlook than their first offering, album number two from this outfit would also hit a decidedly AOR sweet-spot. Especially with it being led by the ‘German Steve Perry’, Stephen Kaemmerer ��" who also has more than a touch of Ted Poley (Danger Danger) about him.

Unleashed in 1997, it’s no surprise that this second offering from this band fell on largely deaf ears, with only the true melodic rock diehards seeking out import copies to relive a sound that was as far as possible from being the ‘in thing’ at the time. However that doesn’t stop it from being a real AOR gem of an album. The long dubbed ‘Heroes II’ was quickly begun by way of follow up, but never released and with Frontline teaming up with AOR Heaven in 2000, The Right Thing appeared instead, this hastily put together release pulling from both Heroes sessions for its track listing.

Now, we get the full, real deal, Heroes released in its entirety for the first time outside of Japan. Was it worth the wait? You bet your nelly it was, the Journey-esque AOR this band specialised in fully to the fore as Frontline added an ever so slightly later feel into their sound. Although by that I mean later 80s AOR rather than anything that should have come from the 90s - thank goodness!

Kaemmerer is again a fantastic focal point, adding a touch of class to an excellent set of songs, but guitarist Bobby Böbel isn’t one to be kept in the shade and as such his playing is key to the success of even the slower numbers like “Get To You”. As you’d expect though it’s the twirl and pout of “I Must Be Dreaming”, the mid-paced simmer of “Moving Closer” and unabashed good times of “Our Love” where Frontline really shine. In truth there’s seldom a foot put out of place as “Heroes” shows admirable restraint, “Someone To Love” adds a huge chorus to a classy verse and “Tonight We Set” crackles with energy. The otherwise excellent “On The Run” does feel faintly as though it’s a 33rpm track spinning at 45, but its infectiously upbeat energy is hardly unwelcome. Beyond that, there’s basically nothing to pick holes in from start to finish.

Frontline released a further four albums after the excellent halfway house of Right Attitude and pretty much maintained the impressive standards laid out here - and they continue to this day. However, as so many have, what this classy German outfit truly suffered from was a serious case of right band, wrong time. Hindsight however remembers them very fondly indeed.

Track Listing
1. Our Love
2. Heroes
3. Moving Closer
4. Break My Heart Again
5. On The Run
6. Someone To Love
7. Sign Of The Light
8. Pain Will Last Forever
9. Get To You
10. I Must Be Dreaming
11. All I wanted
12. Tonight We Set
13. Man In Motion

Added: July 24th 2018
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Heroes @ AOR Heaven
Hits: 894
Language: english

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