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Articles Home » 2006 Articles » Sunstorm - 2006 Sunstorm
Sunstorm - 2006 Sunstorm

ARTIST: Sunstorm
ALBUM: Sunstorm
LABEL: Frontiers
YEAR: 2006


LINEUP: Joe Lynn Turner - vocals * Dennis Ward - bass, guitars, keyboards, background vocals * Uwe Reitenauer - guitars * Chris Schmidt - drums * Jochen Weyer - keyboards

TRACK LISTING: 01 Keep Tonight * 02 Fame And Fortune * 03 Heart Over Mind * 04 This Is My Heart * 05 Strength Over Time * 06 Another You * 07 Fist Full Of Heat * 08 Love Goes Wrong * 09 Night Moves * 10 Danger Of Love * 11 Making Up For Lost Time * 12 Arms Of Love



Just as I slag a couple of Frontiers releases, along come two more that are at the other end of the scale. This Sunstorm CD (along with Mike Slamer's 'Nowhere Land') could be contenders for everyone's Top 10 lists. Though this is 2006, some of the material on 'Sunstorm' goes back twenty years. Back in 1985, Joe Lynn Turner released his first ever solo album 'Rescue You'. Due to numerous reasons, the opportunity to release his second album for Elektra folded, and so the material remained stashed away, though demo tapes circulated on the AOR underground many years later. We at GDAZE had an idea that songs had been penned after we interviewed SPYS singer John Blanco back in 2002, who knew the movements of keyboardist Al Greenwood in the years following SPYS demise, and who had who played on that 'Rescue You' album. Thankfully these songs have been rescued, and given a 21st century dust-off courtesy of assistance from Jim Peterik and Dennis Ward. Last year we had the pleasure of listening to the Place Vendome album, which featured Dennis Ward and Uwe Reitenauer. Sunstorm is a progression from that, the songs sounding like a million bucks by comparison, and remember too, we really rate Place Vendome highly - so that says something about this CD. Though this has the modern production touch applied, the style is very 'eighties', and I tried very hard to visualise it in the context of 1986. Perhaps I should have listened to it watching some Miami Vice re-runs on TV in the background?

The Songs
The Jack Ponti penned 'Keep Tonight' gets us underway. It's AOR all the way, the user-friendly chorus and ever present keys are a great start to the disc. Even better is the next tune 'Fame And Fortune' - JLT's voice is criminally good. I only wish that German faves Frontline could get back to doing stuff like this. They could get eat this stuff for breakfast! The piano ballad 'Heart Over Mind' with its haunting quality is searing 'love-lost' stuff, the theme based around strength under fire. Listening to 'This Is My Heart' took me straight back to the 'Rescue You' era, especially that chorus! Living a life filled with wisdom is the basis for 'Strength Over Time'. Jim Peterik's ballad 'Another You' is a pop/R&B based tune which is the equivalent of a time-out on this album. 'Fistfull Of Heat' is of course better known as a track covered previously by Van Stephenson on his 1986 album 'Suspicious Heart'. Nice to hear it updated again, with as much punch and power as its predecessor. A tune which sounds very 21st century is 'Love's Gone Wrong' - similar to Radioactive's material. Unlike 'Night Moves' which has eighties written all over it, from the keyboard layers and sequences all the way to the lyrics. This track was originally sung by the great Marilyn Martin. You gotta love the smooth 'Danger Of Love', it has everything you could want from an AOR song, a nice mix of acoustic and electric guitars, and of course.. keyboards. Peterik's influence is heard again on 'Making Up For Lost Time', the clever lyrics and Survivor like structure familiar to one and all. The album ends with the ballad 'Arms Of Love', another Peterik tune, previously covered by the David Carl Band on their 1998 album 'Can't Slow Down'.

In Summary
Talk about a 'retro-sounding' CD - are we all caught up in a time-warp? Happily yes! The irony is not lost on me that material from twenty years ago still sounds wonderfully good in the here and now - if not better than before, due to the superior recording techniques and digital environment producers now work in. Is there a lesson to be learnt in all of this? Yes, by crikey yes, and I hope that those who are influential in the rock music industry take heed of this. According to Joe, we should kick out the sorry excuse that is American Radio and start all over. 'How about reverting to classic rock on our Ipods' he suggests? De-powering the impact of American Corporate Radio sounds like a mighty fine idea to me. He also says that there are still more goodies stashed away which might make it onto a Sunstorm - II CD. Wouldn't that be great!

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Sunstorm - 2011 Emotional Fire

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#1 | wogboy on September 30 2006 21:56:14
Couldn't agree more, George. Fantastic album which puts much of today's AOR to shame.
#2 | Totochris on October 04 2006 14:45:46
Can't fully agree with George here. Of course the sound of the album is great and Dennis Ward has done a great job. But judging from the songwriting credits there are probably only three songs really intended for the second Turner solo album (co-written by Joe himself). Funnily those are the ones with the biggest impact on me here: Keep tonight, Fame and fortune and Love gone wrong.

On the other side we have the same problem as always: another 'project', whereas it should have been a JLT solo album and four cover-versions of well known aor-tracks, that I don't think anybody needs. I have my Van Stephenson albums back at home, thank you. And who made the song order? Out of the last four tracks 3 1/2 are ballads.

I'm sorry, but this is a little bit overrated. I'll stick to Slamer's new album, which is original, great production and at least to some extent timeless.
#3 | 391 on October 12 2006 16:15:38
Great album,JLT is one of the best singer that I ever heard!I like songs like KEEP TONIGHT!Thank you JLT for great music!GrinGrin
#4 | Jez on June 16 2008 13:09:04
A cracking disc. Great songs with highlights being the opening 'Keep Tonight' & the very excellent pairing of 'Fame And Fortune' & 'Heart Over Mind' with 'Making Up For Lost Time' following closely behind. The only slightly weak link is the rather average 'Another You' which doesn't do a lot for me. JLT sounds great as always and Dennis Ward supplies a sympathetic production. Top quality all the way.
#5 | jeffrey343 on March 02 2012 02:31:13
This is one of the few 2006 albums I actually got in 2006. Overall, a strong album. JLT sounds great. I don't think it flows as well as the second or (brand new) third albums, though. I do like the two Van Stephenson tunes, although I'm surprised by their inclusion because I don't see a JLT connection to the ones on the VS albums. I will agree that the first two cuts are killer.
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