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On The Rise: Dream Zone

On The Rise made a huge impact with their extremely well received debut album on Frontiers back in 2003, which was praised for the smooth AOR and West Coast influences that were crammed onto that disc. After a wait of just over six years comes the follow up Dream Zone. Even before the disc is placed in the player the most noticeable difference in On The Rise is that they are now in essence a one man band, with Terje Eide handling all lead vocals (they were shared with Bennech Lyngboe before), guitars, keyboards and bass, although some notable guests do pop in to lend a hand. Erik Engebretsen mans the drum kit for the whole album, however he is joined by Christian Wolff, who also co-wrote three of the songs, on keyboards, lead guitar and bass and for a couple of songs Eric Ragno also adds some keyboards.

Style wise little has changed (and why should it?) from that debut as once more Terje has put together some classy upbeat guitar led AOR. To me that's the key as to why On The Rise seem able to easily slip into a crowded genre with a glorious past and still have a lasting impact. Too many AOR bands these days pack their album full of lush atmospheres and power keyboards whilst forgetting that the best AOR acts always led with their guitars at the front and then augmented them with ivory tinkling, not the other way round. Between them Eide and Wolff ensure that the six string playing on show is of the highest standard with the likes of "Howling At The Moon" and "Fly Away" having stunning solos and intricate lead brakes, while "No Time To Lose" and the excellent bonus track "Find A Way" bound along with hooks and riffs that are catchy as hell. That's not to suggest that the keyboards are inconsequential as although they do on the whole take second billing, when they are used it is to great effect and they add a tremendous amount of colour to the songs.

Vocally Terje has a classic AOR voice that seems to be reminiscent of most of the greats, there's a little Gramm a smidge of Perry and even a touch of John Elefante in the mix, however his performance is never derivative of anyone. The vocal arrangements are excellent and their gloss and sheen truly lift the album.

On The Rise in no way break the mould or dazzle with fresh ideas or challenging themes, however for those AOR lovers looking for a touch of past glories (and there are a few of them!), Dream Zone will find a welcome home.

Track Listing
1. Lifeline
2. Lost Your Track
3. Dream Zone
4. Edellyn
5. Alive
6. In The Line Of Fire
7. Get Out Of Here
8. Fly Away
9. No Time To Lose
10. Why Wait Another Day
11. Tomorrow Never Dies
12. Howling At The Moon
13. Find A Way

Added: February 4th 2010
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Band's Web Site
Hits: 2079
Language: english

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