Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Review: On The Rise “Dream Zone”

Good AOR is hard to find these days, but the Italian-based Frontiers Records is keeping this flame alive. Specializing in the release of new AOR groups, as well as new releases from classic AOR artists, Frontiers Records fills a unique niche in the music marketplace.

One of the acts on this label that has caught my ear is On The Rise, whose new 2009 CD “Dream Zone” is a musical time machine, taking you back to the days of Survivor, Toto, and Night Ranger. Amazingly, On The Rise is virtually a one-man band! Norwegian Terje Eide writes the songs, sings the lead and backing vocals, plays all guitars, keyboards, and bass. Eide has been active in the music scene since the 80s, getting his start when he was only 16. And while he may be older now, his love of the trademark 80s melodic rock sound has not changed a bit.

“Dream Zone” is the long-awaited sophomore effort for On The Rise, which first took shape 10 years ago. Eide sings his songs with conviction, with lyrical themes that are straight out of the AOR playbook – a handful of love songs, handful of inspirational “don’t give up” anthems, and so on. His vocal tone and musical style reminds me of 80s-era Tommy Shaw.

The 13 tracks provide over 50 minutes of AOR bliss, largely guitar-driven melodic rock with some tasty keyboards and harmonies in all of the right places. The beginning and the end of “Dream Zone” are particularly strong, setting a very high bar that the middle of the record generally fail to meet. The best cuts include the driving opener, “Lifeline”, the peppy “Lost Your Track”, and the very catchy “Why Wait Another Day”. On The Rise is highly recommended for fans of Vertigo, Mecca, and Two Fires.

iPOD-worthy: 1, 2, 6, 10, 12, 13

On The Rise on MySpace. Official site.

Here’s a video for you:

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