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Brock; Terry: Diamond Blue

Following on from 2001's Back To Eden, Diamond Blue is the second solo album from Terry Brock and whilst he hasn't been exactly prolific over those nine years, this is one singer who has been heavily in demand over the past few months. Terry has been fronting the impressive comeback from Giant (he took the bold step of replacing Dann Huff behind the mic and did a marvellous job) as well as rejoining his band mates for a reunion of the cult UK AOR outfit Strangeways, who will play Firefest and release a new album later in the year. It is then quite remarkable that in between all this, Brock has managed to team up with long term collaborator Mike Slamer (City Boy, Streets, Steelhouse Lane) to complete this album.

Brock and Slamer go back quite some way, the pair worked together in Seventh Key, before Terry sang lead vocals on the 2006 Slamer album Nowhere Land. Style wise, Brock's first solo disc was a reasonably heavy slice of melodic rock that used some excellent gritty guitar themes to hit hard, however this time round Brock and Slamer have cooked up an altogether smoother affair that whilst still illustrating the great music this pair always seem to come up with, edges closer to AOR than I had originally expected. That said when you consider that the music on the aforementioned Slamer disc falls squarely into the same category as that which is served up here, I maybe shouldn't have been too surprised. More important is the fact that once again Slamer has written a set of songs that is perfect for Brock's expressive delivery and that live long in the memory.

The upbeat acoustic jangle of "Face In The Crowd" was made for the glorious harmonies that Terry lays over it and when you add the pointed guitar hook that weaves in and out of the song, then this is a laid back, catchy gem. "Why" fuses a keyboard line that wouldn't be out of place on either recent Asia album with a chorus that Danny Vaughn would revel in, with the end result being a smart, bluesy track that stomps along without ever breaking a sweat., while "It's You" is a prime slice of Mike Slamer melodic rock which reminds slightly of a smoother Def Leppard. The one track that isn't a Slamer composition is "Jessie's Gone", which will be of huge interest to Strangeway fans, as Ian Stewart who plays guitar in Strangeways co-wrote the song with Brock. The track still sits perfectly in its surroundings, however the keyboards are more prevalent and there is more space left for Terry to really belt out the lyric. If this is a taste of what is to come from Strangeways, then we are in for a treat.

Considering how big a fan I am of the first Terry Brock solo album, I was initially slightly disappointed that the songs here generally steer a more gentle approach, however once the silky hooks and choruses had been given some time to really get their claws into the memory, then the strength of what is on show here begins to shine through. That said I would have really liked to hear more songs in the vein of "No More Mr. Nice Guy", where the guitar bites that little bit harder and Terry is coaxed into a grittier delivery.

Sometimes it is hard not to bring preconceived ideas to an album and in this case my hopes for Diamond Blue have definitely made it a longer journey to really appreciate its true merits, however if you are looking for a great example of smooth, yet smart melodic rock that is brimming with great guitar work and vocals then this is the album for you.


Track Listing
01. Diamond Blue
02. It's You
03. Jessie's Gone
04. No More Mr Nice Guy
05. The Rain
06. Broken
07. Face In The Crowd
08. Why
09. Too Young
10. Soldier Falls
11. Face The Night

Added: August 19th 2010
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Score:
Related Link: Frontiers Records
Hits: 1764
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Brock; Terry: Diamond Blue
Posted by Scott Ward, SoT Staff Writer on 2010-08-19 16:33:12
My Score:

For those that wish to reminisce back to the 80's and the fluffy pop/metal of such groups as Journey, Rick Springfield and Bon Jovi, Terry Brock has his second solo offering that takes a retro approach to the AOR market with 11 slickly done sugary sweet slices of light melodic rock. Along with seasoned guitarist Mike Slamer, Brock gives you an album that captures the romantic feel of those bands already mentioned and is surly one that is geared to those of the female gender while Slamer's guitar keeps it interesting from the guys' point of view too.

Power ballads galore, this is a disc that is like a nice evening before the fireplace curled up with your special someone. Shades of Foreigner or Whitesnake haunt songs like "Diamond Blue", "It's You" and "Why" while the specter of Def Leppard is heard on tunes like "Too Young" and the title track "Diamond Blue". With a mega dose of those type of 80'ish melodic rock you will be firing up the cappuccino machine for a pleasant evening with some music that goes down just as well and warms you up in much the same way.

Brock has a dynamite voice for this type of music. There is a soothing quality that really comes out in the slower songs such as "Rain" and "Face In The Night". He also sounds just at home on the more rockin' tunes like "Nice Guy" "Jessi's Gone" and "Broken". Many would die for the range he has and he uses it to maximum effect on this disc.

I like to take a break now and then and when it comes time for that then a mellower bit of good rock and roll is essential. Brock delivers that with his new disc and while it might be a bit bland by some standards there is certainly a charm to it that makes you want to hear it again.



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