In recent times the US has started to throw up quite a few good honest hard rock bands with the ability and talent to write quality songs with tremendous hooks and bags of melody without ever going down the typical frivolous Euro metal path of say Outloud. Now while I think that the afore mentioned Outloud debut release is a fantastic record I do feel that US bands such as Cold Truth or Machines of Grace manage to approach melodic metal with a more sincere, respectful edge. Whilst stylistically they may not completely cross over with these other bands, it would be fair to suggest that if you are looking for a straight ahead rock album with fantastic guitar playing, sharp punchy songs and the sort of choruses that take up residence in your memory, then Rage And Beyond are another band that demand your attention.
With an album that contains reference points such as Hagar era Van Halen, early Y&T, Aerosmith, Extreme, Tesla and the odd nod to the gentle funk of Glenn Hughes, Rage And Beyond have served up an impressive set of songs that sound way too assured to go unnoticed. However when you combine a song writer in Ed Terry, who has contributed his skills, both with his pen and his soulful voice, to an eclectic list covering everything from David Bowie, Fleetwood Mac, David Lee Roth and Madonna with guitarist extraordinaire Karl Cochran who's credit list of writing and performing with Kiss, Joe Lynn Turner, Sebastian Bach and Dee Snider is every bit as impressive then it is no surprise that the tracks on offer are of the highest quality. Then if you add to the mix Paul Di Leo who has played bass with Ace Frehley, Carly Simon and Lauryn Hill amongst others and Arabia and one time Dokken deputy drummer Bobby Marks, you know that there will be no question marks over the standard of playing through the thirteen tracks across the disc. If all of that wasn't enough then drop in the name Kevin Shirley (Dream Theater, Led Zeppelin, Slayer, Journey, Iron Maiden), who mixed the album, then that also removes any doubts over the sound quality of the Terry/Cochran produced songs.
With a cry of "I'm reloaded, here comes the pain", "Proposition" bursts into life with a spiralling guitar riff that would have sat easily on Extreme's Pornograffiti album and Terry adds to the Extreme feel with a very Cherone at his best contribution. It's a strong statement of intent and there really is no let up from there on in. Cochran's guitars are stellar throughout with a big fat sound and excellent tone. "Not Gonna Try" sees him in full Dave Meniketti of Y&T mode during the verse, his fret board drips rocked upped blues before morphing into a Glenn Hughes like chorus. Terry has a fabulous range and tremendous control over his voice. Although you can hear that he is really stretching out on some of the songs, he never loses focus and always sounds supremely confident with his delivery.
It's possible to dip into Corporate Nation at any point and be impressed by what you find. Whether it's the Hagar like wail and pulsating guitar on "Nice And Easy", the slow sultry Aerosmithesque ballad "Desire" where Terry gives and amazing Steven Tyler like vocal backed by Leppard/Lange gang voices, the rock solid beat laid down by Marks on the later day Winger inspired "Down To Business", or the exquisite bass and guitar screech of "Media Song", there is just no point where the quality drops below excellent.
For a while good old uncompromising rock looked like it may become a thing of the past however with bands like Rage And Beyond not only has it resurfaced, but it has done so in quite a spectacular fashion. I can't recommend this album strongly enough and can guarantee that if you let this band pass you by, then you will be most severely missing out.
One word of warning though, take heed of the closing words of the album where you are "requested" not to burn this album to CD as you are being watched, "Badabing, Badaboom" , because if the way Rage And Beyond attack the songs on Corporate Nation is anything to go by, then you will be in almighty trouble!!
Do as the man suggests and buy it!!
2. Not Gonna Try
3. Nice And Easy
5. Say No More
6. No Resolution
7. Media Song
8. Corporate Nation
9. Between The Lines
10. What's Your Game
11. Cut My Ties
12. Tryin' To Be
13. Down To Business