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Norway: Rising Up From the Ashes

Back in the late 1990s, when melodic hard rock in the United States was buried as far underground as it could get, a New Jersey band called Norway self-released its debut CD, Night Dreams a delightful (and bold) disc of memorable melodies and huge hooks that did its best to kick the ass of America's post-grunge scene. The album found a cult audience, and Norway eventually signed with Italy's Frontiers Records and released Arrival two years later. Now Norway returns with a new CD called Rising Up From the Ashes, a new label in Germany's MTM Music, a new singer in Dave Baldwin, and a sound that's about as new as 1986 (when the band first formed) but wholly refreshing nonetheless.

Falling somewhere between Journey, Firehouse and Bon Jovi, Norway makes a dated genre sound fun again. Baldwin, who arrived via the band Departure, retains original singer Glenn Pierson's crisp, clean and arena-ready delivery, and founding guitarist Jim Santos proves why his name should be more easily recognized. Rockers like "Save Me" and "Anything At All" feel instantly familiar, and the massive power ballad "Only One I Need" would have taken mainstream radio by storm 20 years ago. "American Girl" packs a punch with its slew of "whoa-whoas," despite a rather disturbing lyric about daddy's girl hanging out with an aging rocker, and the moody, eight-minute mid-tempo closer "Haunted" bridges Def Leppard with Giant.

Some of the production falls flat, and there's a drop in song quality during the middle of the album. But overall, Rising Up From the Ashes heralds the return of an American-made band that's proud to play this kind of music and that should make listeners who came of age in a certain era plenty proud to hear it.

Track Listing:
1) Save Me
2) Anything At All
3) Only One I Need
4) American Girl
5) The Power of Gold
6) Since You've Been Gone
7) Tell Me
8) Won't Let You Down
9) Haunted

Added: March 22nd 2007
Reviewer: Michael Popke
Related Link: Official Norway Web Site
Hits: 3244
Language: english

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