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Walk On Fire - 2017 Mind Over Matter
» Posted by Avatar

gdazegod
on March 24 2017, In 2017 Articles , 4 Comments , 860 Reads , Print



ARTIST: Walk On Fire
ALBUM: Mind Over Matter
LABEL: Escape Music
SERIAL: ESM 302
YEAR: 2017
SPONSOR: Connecting Music Portal

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: Alan King - vocals * Dave Cairns - keyboards, guitars * Mike Casswell - guitars * Trevor Thornton - drums * Phil Williams - bass * Richard Cottle - keyboard programming

TRACK LISTING: 01 Mind Over Matter * 02 Spinning Wheel * 03 Pleasure Of Pain * 04 Reign Down * 05 Long Live Love * 06 Save Your Lies (We've had Enough) * 07 Wicked * 08 Bad Attitude * 09 Madhouse * 10 Big Gun * 11 Price Of Love * 12 Drag me Down * 13 Colour Of Blood (bonus track with first pressing)

RATING:


Background
Winding the clock back to 1989, I'm sure there were many fans of the debut Walk On Fire CD, called 'Blind Faith'. That album (less so the band) was a vehicle for singer Alan King and keyboardist Dave Cairns. Apparently, there were a bunch of tunes written after 1989, that were shelved until now (2017) that is. Step up Escape Music. These tracks form the basis on 'Mind Over Matter', the 13 track CD which features ex Asia drummer Trevor Thornton, the late Mike Casswell on guitars (ex Brian May Band), Phil Williams (ex Spandau Ballet) and David Bowie/Seal keyboards and programming legend, Richard Cottle. The album was written and produced by Dave Cairns (of Secret Affair fame). These newly discovered buried treasures of 24 track analogue recordings were put to tape following the 1989 debut, so will be of anticipated interest to those that enjoyed the album back then.


The Songs
It's incredulous to think that an album's worth of material which is this good was left on the shelf for quarter of a century. But those are the facts, and as I'm listening to this, I'm left scratching my head as to how record executives operate. The quality of this material is just wonderful. It's certainly not bogged down and tarred with the same brush that saturates today's production methods. If there is one apparent thing, Dave Cairns obviously knew what he was doing in the studio, and I kinda miss that late 80's early 90's production standard. Coupled with Alan King's killer voice, this is the style of AOR that is missing in today's market. Comparison wise I'm thinking the debut Heartland from 1991 combined with Brian Howe era Bad Company. I'm sure that will make some of you sit up and take notice. With songs like the pumping title-track 'Mind Over Matter' and the regal sounding 'Reign Down', the album is already off to a flyer. 'Long Live Love' continues the majestic sounding AOR on display, the guitar work from Mike Caswell takes on Dann Huff like comparisons. 'Wicked' is hugely entertaining. Funky rhythm guitar work, while Caswell also throws in lots of dive-bombing flurries for good measure. Probably the heaviest effort is the last track 'Drag Me Down', with Caswell ramping up the distortion to 10.


In Summary
As with last years Seven album 'Shattered', Escape Music are onto another winner with Walk On Fire. If punters are looking for a current day album but without the 2017 cookie-cutter production, then 'Mind Over Matter' should be your calling card. I can see this album spending a lot of time on the Deth-Deck over the coming months. The album is officially released in the third week of April. Thanks to Connecting Music/Escape for the advance promo.


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Comments
#1 | george_the_jack on March 24 2017 19:29:16
I have high hopes for this one and the favourable review makes me even more impatient!
#2 | jeffrey343 on April 26 2017 02:36:35
I have to totally agree with George on this one. I assume this would have originally been released around 1991. And it's one I would have played a bunch if it had been and I'd actually heard of these guys. I just ordered the debut (never heard anything on it), so I can't comment on it yet. But this is pretty great stuff. I agree that it has a production that is missing these days. My one regret with this album is that it was actually recorded long ago rather than being a new band who managed to record an album that sounds like this. Not too many albums come out these days that capture this sound (FM comes close, I think).

As for the material, this falls right into the territory that was occupied by Michael Bolton, Paul Sabu / Only Child, Giant, FM, possibly Strangeways, and probably Dare (not as familiar with them as I should be). Possibly The Storm, but that's more a case of similar quality rather than actual sound. I'll throw Sammy Hagar in there too, as King sounds like a more refined Hagar at time (I think Sabu sounded kinda like Sammy as well). That's all pretty heady company, but I do think this album compares favorably with those of the artists I mentioned. Time will tell, and we're hearing this close to 30 years after the fact. But I think you can throw it in the mix with those albums from long ago and be assured that it'll fit nicely and give you some songs you haven't played hundreds of times.

So, if you're the type of person that likes to discover new music but is not overly impressed with most of what is coming out these days, I believe this is one you should investigate.
#3 | george_the_jack on April 29 2017 08:02:28
When I first saw George's post on the upcoming release of this, I couldn't believe my eyes. I had to re-read to make sure it was true as I could see a familiar and much loved band name as well as the band's logo but couldn't comprehend how such an old forgotten name could come up with a 2nd release after so many years. Then, of course I saw that the material was recorded many moons ago, right after the release of their magnificent debut.

How much I love that WOF debut is beyond words. I accidentally bought that CD for 2 euros some 15 years ago when it was not as rare as it is now and I immediately fell in love with the band and the songs. I wouldn't hesitate to say that ''Blind Faith'' is one of my absolute favorite albums from the late 80's and one I always take with me in my summer vacations.

Back to 2017, after I saw the initial announcement of ''Mind Over mater'', the album got immediately in my shortlist. Therefore, I placed an order as soon as it was first seen on ebay and the CD hit my door on April 20th, one day before the official release date.

I'm happy to agree with both of you as this is fantastic stuff all the way! Perhaps not as breezy as the debut, being darker and more hard-edged in places, but everything is being done with class here. The Heartland (debut) and Giant references are spot on and I can also hear pinches of mid/late-80's Whitesnake/Def Leppard mostly due to Mike Casswell's lead guitar parts. Listen to guitar harp harmonics in the ''Spinning Wheel'' and you will even be reminded of ''Weekend Warrior'' from Iron Maiden's ''Fear of the dark'' era which is proof that those WOF recordings took place during those early 90's days and not later.

There are several standout moments with all 4 starting tracks being top notch as well as the amazing numbers ''Wicked'' and ''Price of Love'' but the absolute masterpiece in my book is ''Long Live Love''. This is definitely the song of the year for me and I dare anyone to come up with a better song released in 2017! Wow. Listen to that arrangement - how the complexity of the basslines and guitars blend amazingly with keyboards and all together make for a catchy chorus with soaring heavenly vocals and memorable hooks. It bares the impact of Heartand's ''Teach You To Dream''. One of those songs that gets stuck in your head once and forever.

All in all this is excellent stuff and the AOR I'm sure most of us in here crave for. Perhaps it is one or two songs longer than it should have been and there's a bit of inconsistency in the production, revealing the fact that most of these songs were recorded in different times or even at different places but, honestly, the material on offer is this good that you can't ask for much more. If the debut was a 10 for me, this is a 9.5 and most probably the album of the year as I seriously doubt I will hear anything better in 2017.

From what I understand from the liner notes, Dave Cairns is still involved in the music scene while, unfortunately, the excellent singer Alan King gave up music a long time ago and the great Mike Casswell is no longer with us... but I wish Escape and the rest of the labels would release music like this. I saw with pleasure that Escape Ebay shop sold out its first 15-copy batch within 36 hours from the album becoming available which is a sign of what the fans are looking for after all. Of course these numbers are not ''big'' selling numbers by any means, but you can proportionally see that a ''goodie'' is a goodie no matter what.

Well done Escape for unearthing this little gem!
#4 | gdazegod on April 29 2017 09:00:40
Walk On Fire - 2017 Mind Over Matter
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