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Turner, Joe Lynn: Belly Of The Beast

Some of the best things happen purely by accident and that’s exactly the case with the latest solo release from one-time Rainbow, Deep Purple and Yngwie Malmsteen frontman, Joe Lynn Turner. A chance meeting with Peter Tägtgren (Hypocrisy, Pain, Lindemann) resulting in the pair teaming up to write and record this very album. With the former’s supreme melodic rock roots and the latter’s heavier credentials, on paper this match-up makes no sense whatsoever, and yet, with Tagtgren clearly the driving force behind the music, it has, to some extent, resulted in something of a rebirth for Joe Lynn Turner. If I was to use two words to describe Belly Of The Beast they would be power and metal and while JLT has turned his hand to many a different style before, having him front an album’s worth of riff-totting tuneage is an absolute revelation. Suddenly his smooth, although admittedly always powerful tones, have an edge, a grittiness and an anger never quite experienced before. “Rise Up” is a perfect example, a thoroughly thundering mix of ripping guitars and layered synth effects all powered into place by driving beats and a vocal rammed full of an intense authority.

Admittedly “Dark Night Of The Soul” has a much more expected melodic rock power ballad feel about it, and “Living The Dream” adds a slickness not readily felt elsewhere. However, they are merely a clever change of pace from the near Judas Priest attack of the album’s title track or melodically heavy onslaught of “Don’t Fear The Dark”, which has a distinct Primal Fear feel about it.

Throughout, what’s most apparent is just how in synch Tagtgren and Turner are, the former’s songwriting, while hardly reinventing wheels, still invigorating and concise, while the vocals are amongst the best Turner has ever laid down. And it’s also worth mentioning that the singer’s lyrics focus on a dissatisfaction with modern life and its systems in a way few rock stars of his vintage seem willing to do these days.

This album, along with Turner's decision to discuss his early life diagnosis with alopecia and shave his head and remove the hair piece he has understandably worn since his teens for the promo shots for this album, have all been really brave steps. To say they’ve paid off would be a huge understatement and I for one hope Belly Of The Beast is the first of many collaborations to come from Peter Tagtgren and Joe Lynn Turner.

Track Listing
1. Belly of the Beast
2. Black Sun
3. Tortured Soul
4. Rise Up
5. Dark Night of the Soul
6. Tears of Blood
7. Desire
8. Don't Fear the Dark
9. Fallen World
10. Living the Dream
11. Requiem

Added: October 23rd 2022
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Joe Lynn Turner online
Hits: 871
Language: english

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