Monday, November 12, 2012

Melodic rock CD of the week: Red Dawn

By Stephen Kasenda

RED DAWN “Never Say Surrender” (1993)

Red Dawn was formed in 1992 by former Rainbow keyboardist, David Rosenthal. At that time, Rosenthal sealed a contract with EMI/Toshiba but unfortunately had no band. He held an audition for the project and rumor has it that Mitch Malloy originally fronted the band before his place was permanently filled by Larry Baud. Joined by his fellow drummer from Rainbow, Chuck Burgi, and guitarist Tristan Avakian, Red Dawn released its sole album, "Never Say Surrender" in 1993.

The band's musical style is a mix between 80s AOR such as Survivor, Asia, and Foreigner and the pompous melodic hard rock such as House of Lords or Giant. All of the musicians are highly skillful and Baud's vocals will leave you in amazement. Rosenthal's dominating keyboards lush up the music and Avakian's enthusiastic playing adds to the album's value.

Several big numbers here include the uptempo melodic rock opener, "Flyin' High", with Rosenthal's keyboard standing on the spotlight. A laid-back ballad with a gigantic chorus is "I'll Be There". Midtempo rockers with catchy hooks include "Liar". "Promises" is an awesome heart-melter - like a lost track from Foreigner. "Take These Chains" is their biggest ballad and reminds me of Aerosmith's huge hit, "Angel". The rest is pretty good and probably only "She's On Fire" is a bit repetitive and my least favorite here. The title track is also has a cool AOR groove with the chorus constructed in the style of Van Hagar's "Dreams".

The year 1993 was a tough year for hard rock/glam fans as alternative/grunge spread out like crazy and I remember several albums that stood out high such as Harem Scarem's "Mood Swings", Gotthard's "Dial Hard", or Poison's "Native Tongue", and I honestly think that Red Dawn's "Never Say Surrender" belongs on that list. A truly remarkable album for fans of classic hard/melodic rock and AOR.

Read more of Stephen’s features at MetalMusicArchives.

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