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Winger: IV

Hard to believe Winger has been around since 1988 and are only just now getting around to their fourth studio release. But here we are, 18 years after the release of their self-titled debut, and it's safe to say that IV is pretty far removed from the energetic hair metal that the band perfected back in the early days. Back for another go 'round are original members Kip Winger (bass/vocals), Reb Beach (guitars), and Rod Morgenstein (drums), and they are joined here by John Roth (guitars/vocals) and Cenk Erogiu (keyboards/guitars). The first thing you notice is the lavish artwork that adorns the CD, done by famed comic book artist Ethan Van Sciver and colored by Moose Baumann. If you are familiar with Van Sciver's work on The New X-Men or The Flash, you wil instantly recognize his style. Secondly, once the opening riffs of "Right Up Ahead" hit you, it will be instantly apparent that this is a leaner and meaner Winger. Kicking off with this heavy rock tune, dark and ominous with plenty of ferocious guitar from Beach and Kip's snarling vocals, it seems as if Winger left the bubblegum behind in 1992.

As you make your way through the album, a similar vibe keeps coming at you. Although some of the tunes have an uptempo, somewhat commercial feel, like the Van Halen-ish "Your Great Escape", and others touch upon epic,progressive type elements, like the majestic, keyboard laden rocker "Disappear", for the most part these are serious hard rock tunes that pull no punches. "Blue Suede Shoes" and the raging "M16" are hard and heavy hitters, and "Livin' Just to Die" contains some wicked and crunchy guitar squeals from Beach alongside some crisp drum work from Morgenstein. Beach delivers some tricky lead guitar work on the party rock of "Short Flight to Mexico", and "Generica" again dives into almost prog-rock waters with varied vocals from Kip, keyboards, and textured guitar work. "On a Day Like Today" is the only real soft ballad on the album, and while "Can't Take It Back" starts off like it might fall into the same category, then it quickly develops into a symphonic rocker with huge vocal layers and a bombastic chorus.

I was one of those listeners who really dug the first Winger album back in 1988, but along with much of the rest of the commercial hard rock and metal of the 80's it quickly grew stale. Winger are back and delivering much heavier and darker material these days as a way of doing something different. Good choice guys.

Track Listing
1. Right Up Ahead
2. Blue Suede Shoes
3. Four Leaf Clover
4. M16
5. Your Great Escape
6. Disappear
7. On A Day Like Today
8. Livin' Just To Die
9. Short Flight To Mexico
10. Generica
11. Can't Take It Back

Added: November 29th 2006
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Winger Website
Hits: 3765
Language: english

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