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Articles Home » 2001 Articles » Aries - 2001 Crash And Burn
Aries - 2001 Crash And Burn

Jerry Shepherd - vocals, guitars
Dave Falco - bass
Tom Cramton - keyboards
John Rizzo - drums

If someone told me this was a classic midwest AOR album from 1979 or thereabouts, I would have fallen for it. Only the production gives this disc away as being a brand new affair, such is it's integrity and focus on the very roots of AOR - swirling keys and crunching guitars combine with an array of vocal stylings ranging from fully charged to easy layered harmonies. There's more than a little Kansas influence, with smatterings of Styx, REO Speedwagon, and Uriah Heep. However, there's also more than enough individual style to compensate.

The Songs
'April Reign' opens the album in uptempo Kansas fashion, delivering passages of guitar and keyboard interplay on a bed of inventive tempo changes. This tendency continues on the title track 'Crash And Burn', and indeed throughout the album. 'Only The Strong Survive' is a little closer to straight ahead AOR, although still retaining that authentic midwest flavour. It has impressive vocal arrangements as well. 'To Slow You Down' seems to be modelled on REO's 'Time For Me To Fly', without ever becoming tedious. Some tasteful acoustic guitar and tight vocals are on display. 'Bad Reputation' brings back the midwestern tendencies, especially through the instrumental passages and time signatures. 'All Is Forgiven' is quite majestic, with sweeping passages and a big melodic chorus, not to mention the incredible bass work. 'Here And Gone' starts off with some a capella singing very reminiscent of Styx's 'Renegade', and develops into another complex and layered rocker.' Who We Are' brings on the 4/4 backbeat and blueprint AOR, a nice flight into simplicity after all the complex tracks. From this point the more restrained side of Aries comes through, with such minstrel instruments as mandolin and flute making an appearance, enhancing such fine tracks as 'Passion And Pain' and 'Oceans Away'.

In Summary
'Crash And Burn' is an album you can put on and really listen to in it's entirety. There's a lot of variety and a wealth of familiar elements to make the most traditional late 70's AOR fan feel at home. Real playing and songs of substance seem to be making their presence felt again, I wouldn't be surprised if this becomes one of the most talked about AOR releases of 2001.

Track Listing:
01 April Reign
02 Crash And Burn
03 Only The Strong Survive
04 To Slow You Down
05 Bad Reputation
06 All Is Forgiven
07 Here And Gone
08 Who We Are
09 Passion And Pain
10 Oceans Away
11 Never Again

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#1 | Jez on June 14 2008 17:13:36
I remember gettng into big trouble with a certain Belgian person when I wrote this Angry but I still stick with my original thoughts on this.
There are some good ideas on here,especially some of the almost Crosby,Stills & Nash like vocal harmonies. Songwise there are also some good things going on (Oceans, Who We Are) but it is all presented in such a pedestrian & lacklustre manner with a production job that really lets the side down aswell (check out the last track 'Never Again' which pretty much sums up how often I will be playing this one). Strictly 2nd Division stuff & definately not an AOR/Pomp fans wet dream
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