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Planet Alliance: Planet Alliance

Planet Alliance is a great super group consisting of mostly Sweden's most acclaimed musicians. It was put together by noted producer Anders "Theo" Theander in hopes of creating a great mix of hard rock, melodic metal, and some Euro power metal utilising the vocal talents of Cloudscape singer Mike Andersson, who has written four tracks on the album. The other guys in the writing team are the amazing guitarist Magnus Karlsson on four tracks, former Ozzy Osbourne man Bob Daisley on two cuts, and Locomotive Breath's Janne Stark on one track.

This is strong melodic metal with distinct 80's choruses thrown in. It evokes visions of Magnus Karlsson's other works, one of them being the acclaimed Allen/Lande project. Entirely written by Karlsson and produced by Theander, with drum contribution by The Flower Kings' Jaime Salazar, The Battle and some of the songs on Planet Alliance bear a striking similarity. The album opener "The Real You" and "A Taste of Paradise" are both driven by fluid, energetic guitar phrases, awesome drumming by Salazar, some nice choir effects, and eerie synth lines. Mike Andersson's voice is powerful and makes a huge impact right on the first listen. While he stays in more melodic territory on the former, he does alternate between more clean harmonies and some gruff tones on the latter. Both songs are marked by amazing guitar solos, so rich in tone and expression.

Mike Andersson proves to be a much more melodic vocalist on this disc compared to his recent work on the second Cloudscape album. Also, his writing seems more direct, utilising melodic choruses and groovy soundscapes. "Remember Me" has a cool 80's chorus and terrific guitar solo that also sees Karlsson using some guitar effects, which is quite cool. Karlsson is one of the best guitar players in melodic metal with his tremendous fluidity and excellent clean tones we've come to hear on his Last Tribe and Starbreaker songs. This track, however, has him doing cool whammy dives, not too different from the wacky stuff we hear on Mattias Eklundh's albums. Speaking of Eklundh, he plays a sick guest solo on the track "Divided We Stay", arguably the most chaotic one on this disc.

Bob Daisley also contributes to the album with two tracks, the 80's ballad "The Quickening", guesting guitars from Janne Stark; and the relatively more vocal-based "Ain't No Pleasin' You", with a fat bass signature and a super different lead guitar by Karlsson. You've probably never heard him rip it up like this before. Some of the finest songs are also the fiercely melodic "Calling My Name", with its big synth hooks and power metal-style guitar work by Narnia's Carl-Johan Grimmark who also exchanges leads with Magnus Karlsson on another rocking number "Where to Go". However, the best song is the last one. "Digging Your Own Grave", as its title implies, is also their darkest and moodiest work. It starts off with a terrific drum solo by Salazar (speaking of which, the other drummer on this disc, Anders Johansson, also does a great job) and segues into a sturdy guitar pattern with lots of crunch and tranquil moments, powerful vocals, and dark keyboards. I'd love to see them expanding on this style if they ever decide to release a follow-up to this album.

You must hear Planet Alliance if you are a fan of bands like Cloudscape, Last Tribe, Allen/Lande, and any other melodic metal with 80's hard rock references.

Track Listing

  1. The Real You
  2. Remember Me
  3. Ain't No Pleasin' You
  4. Calling My Name
  5. A Taste of Paradise
  6. The Quickening
  7. Divided We Stay
  8. It's Your Cross to Bear
  9. The Great Unknown
  10. Where to Go
  11. Digging Your Own Grave

Added: August 12th 2006
Reviewer: Murat Batmaz
Related Link: Metal Heaven
Hits: 5446
Language: english

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