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Friday, October 21, 2016

ALBUM REVIEW: Graham Bonnet's back with The Book - new album and greatest hits re-recorded

WITH a career spanning over 40 years singing in such bands as Rainbow, MSG, Alcatrazz and Impellittori, as well as an extensive solo career, Graham Bonnet has returned with a new band of Jimmy Waldo (keyboards), Beth-Ami Heavenstone (bass), Mark Zonder (drums) and South American guitar sensation Conrado Pesinato. Having played with such luminaries as Blackmore, Schenker, Vai and Malmsteen Bonnet has unearthed a hell of a player to join these exalted players.

The new album ‘The Book’ is due for release on November 4th and promises a blend of songs from that era that Bonnet promises to blow hard rock fans away. Never being one to write simplistic lyrics but rather songs with complicated storylines full of content and meaning can this album deliver what the promo material suggests?

Opening track ‘Into The Night’ confirms this straight away. A story of a husband coming home to changed locks and packed bags with his wife saying their marriage is over sets the tone. A hard rocking number with a slow middle section is a song that in terms of the guitar riff could easily featured on Alcatrazz’s Disturbing the Peace. Bonnet’s voice is a strong as ever, if in a slightly lower register and the melodies and hooks are all present.

‘Welcome to My Home’ continues in the same vein with a hard rockin’ feel to it with more soulful vocals and a nice keyboard underlay on the solo. Harmony vocals and steady drum and bass are already a feature on this album.

Track three ‘Earth’s Child (I am your son)’ has a standard mid tempo hard rock riff and another nice bass line from the impressive Beth-Ami Heavenstone. With a bit of a dramatic intro and nice vocal melodies again and a very nice solo from Pesinato it continues the strong start to the album.

‘Rider’ has a slower mid tempo feel with again a strong rhythm section. It’s a more radio friendly song but still had that hard rock riff.

Track five ‘Dead Man Walking’ has a mellow Schenker-esque opening before a full on assault attack on the eardrums. The drums and fierce bass from Heavenstone add depth and the hooks and melodies lead to a blinding solo from Pesinato again.

‘Strangest Day’ has an intro mix of synth keyboard, drum and bass intro that leads to a heavy fast paced riff. The hooks and melodies between the guitar and verses are very melodic and there’s a nice fast paced rhythm section under the solo.

‘The Dance’ is melodic and slower in tempo with a drum and bass lead in. Again the melodic vocals are in evidence overlapping nicely between the verses and chorus.

Track eight, ‘Where Were You’ has a Queen-style funky keyboard intro. The harmony vocals again overlay a strong riff and a slow middle section just sets up a shredding solo from Pesinato.

Title song ‘The Book’ has a fast driving riff that has a strong Rainbow feel to it mostly in part to the Don Airey style keyboards. Again Heavenstone proves she is a pretty accomplished bassist and the song has a very Rainbow style ending to it.

‘Everybody Has To Go There’ has a combined drum, bass and guitar intro and is a driving hard rock song with big hooks and melodies

Another fantastic solo has a great bass line underneath it.

Final song ‘California Air’ ends the album with a crunchy yet melodic riff with a bit of a plinky piano piece. Once more the harmony vocals overlap between the verse and chorus and a very sweet harmonic solo just rounds the song off nicely.

So, that’s the review for “The Book” done....or is it? The album comes with a second cd of re-recorded classic from Bonnet’s back catelogue. Rather than review them all (you should bloody know them anyway) its safe to say that although they are recorded in a lower key to suit Graham’s ageing voice they actually sound really fresh and the band to a great job in re-creating the old songs with a fresher more modern feel to them. In particular Pesinato puts hiscown stamp on the songs without ever straying too far from the originals.
The track listing for the 2nd cd is ÷
Eyes Of The World
All Night Long
Lost in Hollywood
Since You’ve Been Gone
Night games
Assault Attack
Dessert Song
Island in The Sun
Hiroshima Mon Amour
God Bless Video
Will you be There Tonight
Stand in Line
Here Comes The Night (Down Without a Fight)
All in all this is a superb release and anyone who hasn’t got tickets for his upcoming tour, including Northern Irish dates and appearance at HRH X.....what the feck are you waiting for......
Review by Andy Gillen

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