2009COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: LINEUP:
Elio Maugeri - vocals * Simone Falovo - guitars * Stefano Turolla - bass * Alex Jurio - drumsTRACK LISTING:
01 Evil Empire * 02 Feed The Ground * 03 What We Still Don't Know * 04 Living 4 * 05 Do It For Everyone * 06 Get Power From The Sun * 07 Pain * 08 Dirty War Of Bloody Angels * 09 The Water Diviner * 10 You Are Always On My Mind * 11 W.Y.S.I.W.Y.G * 12 In A Superficial Way * 13 Fake News * 14 Son Of The UniverseRATING: WEBLINKS: www.elektradrive.com
Well it came as a complete surprise to many that former 80's Italian faves Elektradrive made a return to active status during 2009. Best known for their 80's output, a glowing reference from the UK scribes at the time, plus a great lead singer in Elio Maugeri, Elektradrive were, and still are a part of the living legacy of Italian melodic rock, a legacy that is now spawning some excellent new acts over the last few years, many of which we have covered in our GD database of articles. So, as the esteemed grand-daddies of AOR, how have they fared over the years, and what is their new 'Living 4' CD all about? Not having heard these guys for years, I was unsure what I was in for. It soon turned out that the material was quite different from what I remember with these guys, the passing years proving that too much water has flowed under the bridge. The band were best known for their overly keyboard pomp based attack. Unfortunately you'll get none of that here, as this is mostly heavy rock with a few melodic twists and turns plus a hint of progressive rock. It's not bad - just different. For an overall comparison, try Toto
's 2006 'Falling In Between'.
The opener 'Evil Empire' stops and starts (some others would say hiccup or trip up) as the tempo and flow is interrupted often. Obviously this one has a darker edge but melodic tinges are still evident. 'Feed The Ground' has a nice undercurrent which hints at a definite progressive rock direction, and though it doesn't totally rock out, the guitars are still strong and beefy. 'What We Still Don't Know' doesn't quite know what genre it's to be pigeon-holed in, the slower tempo and quirky vibe might touch upon Kings X
's unusual offerings. The title track 'Living 4' picks up the pace, but it's clear by this stage the band have accidentally fallen into a universe where AOR and pompous synths don't exist whilst progressive music is the prevailing genre. Let's hope I don't ever find that door! No sooner have they pushed the foot onto the accelerator, the brakes are applied on the slower than slow 'Do It For Everyone'. Don't be put off though, the track is ok without really setting the world on fire. 'Get Power From The Sun' is obviously on solar energy with strident guitars keeping up appearances while there are distinct changes between verses and choruses. 'Pain' reverts to that slower tempo once again; it's a power ballad of sorts and though the title might make you wince, this is quite a nice flowing track that increases its intensity on the chorus. Elio Maugeri sounds great on this one.
We navigate our way into the back-end of the CD, perhaps some changes are in the wind? 'Dirty War Of Bloody Angels' is a great songtitle yes? It's not a metal workout as one might be led to believe. Elektradrive's melodic rock template is retained throughout, and sounds great to me. 'W.Y.S.I.W.Y.G' might be an acronym from the old Lotus 123 days (anyone remember working with that trusty old spreadsheet?) but this one has no pretensions and is a chugging rocker with little gloss and fanfare. 'You Are Always On My Mind' takes awhile to get going, but when it does the sharpened intensity is pretty damn good. Stick with it - it's good. As per the title, there's lot of syrupy liquid effects thanks to the flanger overload on 'The Water Diviner'. It does heavy up somewhat though not like mercury water, but this one won't float away like some airy pink pompous affair. 'In A Superficial Way' goes the way of a mid 90's down-tuned relic, not particularly attractive, so too does 'Fake News' which follows close behind. This isn't the Elektradrive I remember.. oh no. Closing with 'Son Of The Universe', this one holds a bit of hope that things can be retrieved. It keeps to a slow to mid-tempo speed and it's really only the soulful vocals of Maugeri that saves things.
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