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Final Frontier - 2005 High Tension Wire

ARTIST: Final Frontier
ALBUM: High Tension Wire
LABEL: Frontiers
YEAR: 2005
SPONSOR: RiotOz Distribution


LINEUP: Rob Moratti - vocals * Mladen Haze - guitars, bass, keyboards * Lawrence Falconer - guitars * Michael Shotton - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 High Tension Wire * 02 Two Different Worlds * 03 Angel Of The Lake * 04 Beauty And The Beast * 05 Hearts On Fire * 06 Hollywood Drama * 07 Sunset At Dawn * 08 Something More Than This * 09 Who's Going To Love You Now * 10 Listen To Your Heart * 11 Let Me Be The One (Bonus)



This Canadian outfit just seem to be getting better and better. Three albums in now, and the quality is maintained with this new one 'High Tension Wire'. A move to Italian label Frontiers was probably on the cards after an erratic relationship with UK label Z Records, but upon initial listening, 'High Tension Wire' compares favourably with their previous effort 'The Second Wave'. Now, if people get the impression that Final Frontier is nothing more than an AOR-ified version of Von Groove (because of the appearance of Mladen Haze and Mike Shotton) then think again. These Canucks are playing a pure style of AOR. I doubt there is a band operating in Canada right now that can touch what these boyz are doing, even Harem Scarem. The musicianship is top drawer, while fifteen years of songwriting collaboration between Moratti and Mladen goes to show that practice does indeed make perfect. Eighties comparisons abound, and yes, the obvious Journey similarity rears its head, but to these ears, when bands do it this well, eighties styled AOR will be played well into the 21st Century!

The Songs
Onto the songs then. Crackling electricity leaks out of your speakers just before the band kick in with the title track. An energetic workout which sets the scene, with musical urgency and depth of melody. Track two 'Two Different Worlds' ventures forth, and I am left speechless. One of the best tracks I've heard this year takes shape with a killer chorus, and vocal harmonies that would put the Tabernacle Choir to shame! Another killer chorus appears on the pompous arrangement that is 'Angel Of The Lake'. This one had me singing along enthusiastically in the car! Wow, three songs in and I am impressed. 'Beauty And The Beast' is the longest song on the album (at 5min 20s) and though the love theme is long-winded, it doesn't diminish the quality of this majestic track. 'Hearts On Fire' is perhaps the most Journey like track here. The melodies take us back to the 1979 'Evolution' era. The Neal Schon like guitar tones, and Perry vocalisms all make this an enjoyable listen. Even 'Who's Going To Love You Now' is unabashed Journey. The 'woah woahs' similar to the 'Na Na Na's' of 'Lovin' Touchin' Squeezin'. A time warp? You betcha! Both 'Hollywood Drama' and 'Listen To Your Heart' are of a similar musical structure, big vocal harmonies, upbeat rhythm, and lead guitar solos not unlike Josh Ramo's work with Ramos and Two Fires. The compulsory ballad 'Sunset At Dawn' is part of the album package, while the stirring 'Something More To This' features Rob Moratti's vocals getting the multi-overdub treatment big time. The band give us a bonus track - 'Let Me Be The One', which soars angelically, the rich vocals on the chorus are killer.

In Summary
Many punters out there have grumbled about Rob Moratti's vocals, the high-pitched style perhaps a bit irritating at times, but the way he does vocal harmonies, and the clean clear delivery is something you can appreciate in this genre. Certainly after having listened to the likes of Steve Perry, Tony Mills (Shy), Stefan Kaemmerer (Frontline) and a ton of other hopefuls over many years, you become accustomed to it. The production could've done with a bit more dynamism, but considering we're not talking about extravagant budgets given to projects of this nature, the end-result is still amazingly good. Final Frontier have now garnered a reputation as a quality melodic rock/AOR act. With three class albums under the belt, this is all the evidence you need to convince you to hop upon their bandwagon. If you haven't touched on any of their music previously, now is as good a time as any to get acquainted. A thoroughly enjoyable set, and one which many old time AOR fans will take to with glee.

Related Articles
Final Frontier - 2002 The First Wave
Final Frontier - 2004 The Second Wave
Final Frontier - 2005 High Tension Wire
Final Frontier - 2006 Freelight

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#1 | jeffrey343 on April 02 2008 15:34:10
I just got this the other day - it was the only FF release that I could find cheaply. Definitely good stuff! I can definitely hear some Journey influences, as well as Survivor and even Danger Danger. I'll be on the lookout for the other ones, and now that I know how good this group is, I am willing to spend a little more. Moratti must be hooked up to a helium tank. My wife sings soprano, and she could not hit some of those notes. My 11-year-old son asked if this was a Chipmunks CD.
#2 | Jez on June 16 2008 03:59:05
This is really good. I loved the first two releases, and this one doesn't dissapoint either. 'High Tension Wire' and 'Two Different Worlds' kick things off in fine fashion, and the others keep up a very high standard. The production is fine, not a million dollar one, but as good as their previous releases and on par with most releases of this type. The Euro release has a different bonus track, swapping 'Half Way home' for 'Let Me Be The One'. Another top quality AOR release by this fine band.
#3 | george_the_jack on July 26 2008 00:02:54
Is there anyone else who believes that Rob Morati reminds of Myland's voice G. Priori???? Smile
#4 | gdazegod on July 26 2008 02:03:04
Not me.. (??)

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