Thursday, 26 October 2017

Steve Walsh – Black Butterfly (CD)

When singer Steve Walsh left Kansas I didn’t expect to see him return in a few years. Well, wrong was I. His new solo album is already hot off the press! Opener “Born In Fire” sounds like a left over Streets track, which is great in my book. Steve sings great and it’s actually hard to hear the difference between Steve’s voice and guest singer Jerome Mazza! The have a very similar tone, where Mazza does still have his high register in place. They do sound great together and the song is a kick ass rocker! When I first heard “The Piper”, it had something familiar about it. I soon realized this song actually appeared on the album by Radioactive. Some of the guitars have been re-amped, but it’s still the same song. “Grace And Nature” is a more pomp oriented track with a chorus that sort of takes the song down in intensity, which is an interesting move. “Dear Kolinda” continues in the pomp oriented vein with a chorus that does touch on the old Streets/Kansas nerve. In “Winds Of War” Jerome Mazza takes over the lead vocals. His voice sounds quite close to Steve’s actually. Sounds like something that also could have been on the Radioactive album. “Tanglewood Tree” starts off a bit Yes sounding. The vocals are a bit thin and strange in the opening, but soon gets better. An ok track, but not really a favorite. “Now Until Forever” again features Mazza on lead vocals. A good semi-ballad type track with a big chorus. “Warsaw” would also fit on the aforementioned Radioactive album. Quite Toto:ish.
“Black Butterfly” sounds quite different from “Shadowman”, both in sound and style. I honestly think “Shadowman” had more of a unique identity, while “Black Butterfly” sounds very much like several other projects involving the song writers. “Nothing But Nothing” starts out pretty cool and promising with an interesting guitar riff and even though it never really lifts off the way I expected, it’s a really cool track with an oriental touch in the chorus. Good one! “Winds of War”, also featuring Mazza on lead vocals is a mid-tempo melodic AOR track, a bit anonymous, but decent enough. “Billy Carbone Is Dead” is another track with a slight Streets touch, where I so wonder what Mike Slamer would have done with the guitar parts. “Mercy On Me” is one of the best tracks after the opener, also featuring Mazza on lead vocals. All in all a pretty good album, in deed. My first impression was actually better than what I feel after 5-6 times of listening. I’m a bit torn regarding Mazza handling the lead vocals on several tracks. He’s a great singer who deserves his own album, and I’d rather hear Steve sing all the songs and Mazza do his own thing, in the same style though. The production is clear and good, but I do miss a bit of the fatness of “Shadowman” which on the other hand misses a bit of the clarity found here. Well worth checking out.
Janne Stark
Label: Escape Music
Year: 2017

Country: USA

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