Wednesday, 5 August 2015
OZONE – Self Defence (CD)
On paper this looks like the perfect melodic rock album! Two excellent singers: Steve Overland (FM, Wildlife) and Chris Ousey (Heartland, Virginia Wolf, Snakecharmer) and on of my all-time favorite guitarists Mike Slamer (City Boy, Streets, Steelhouse Lane) team up to make melodic rock magic. Tommy Denander is also part of the project, as songwriter and guitarist. I don’t have an info sheet, so I don't know who’s written what, so it's guesses on my part. The album starts with the Slamer sounding “Tiger By The Tail”, which would fit perfectly on any Steelhouse Lane or Seventh Key album. The vocals give the song a different touch, though. I can’t help it, but every time I hear Ousey sing I think of Eric Martin (which is not a bad thing in my book). “Let The Good Will Out” starts off with a simple, but perfectly ok guitar riff, while the song itself feels quite “safe”. “So Blind” is a classic AOR semi-ballad where the outstanding vocals really lift the track. “Destiny” starts off with a cool guitar riff and continues in a more classic British hard rock vibe, with a touch of Overland’s home turf, with a Slamer-sounding chorus. A great track indeed. “Shadow On The Sun” continues in the same vein, and also makes me think classic Slamer riffing, but with a chorus very close to Kenny Loggin’s “Danger Zone”. As much as I think Denander is a great lead guitarist and he is heard on the most part of this album, I really miss Slamer’s light, funny and highly personal solos. Not sure why he’s not featured more, and I think it’s a real shame. It’s something I actually looked forward to. “Save My Soul” is another classic melodic rocker with a pre-chorus dangerously close to Foreigner’s “Feels Like The First Time”. “Smile Before You Lie” also sounds very classic Slamer and the interplay between Ousey and Overland really works great in this track (well, it’s not “bad” in any sense in any other track, just a notch better here). “Lifetime” is a big, bluesy ballad where the vocal twins really make a home run. “Practice What You Preach” is another solid melodic rocker with some nice riffing and a very Slamer-sounding chorus. But, where are Slamer’s solos? The album closes with the up-tempo rocker “Visionary Man”. All in all this is a really good, albeit quite a “safe”, melodic rocker, with a production close to Seventh Key and Slamer’s solo stuff, which feels quite secure. There are some typical Slamer riffs here and there, but I really miss his soloing (as you may have gathered...). Steve and Chris really shine and their voices mix very well together. Works fine for me!