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Articles Home » 2007 Articles » Valor - 2007 Toy Soldiers / Make It Big
Valor - 2007 Toy Soldiers / Make It Big

ALBUM: Toy Soldiers/Make It Big
LABEL: Retrospect Records
YEAR: 2007
SPONSOR: Retrospect Records


LINEUP: Christian Mercer - vocals * Keith Justus - keyboards, vocals * Randy Lotus - guitars * Aaron Scott - bass * Travis LeRoy - bass * 'Junior' - drums, vocals


Toy Soldiers: 01 Believe * 02 Fool No More * 03 Lonely Jetta * 04 Let It Out * 05 What Makes Me Stay * 06 Toy Soldier * 07 Trouble In Paradise * 08 Down, Down, Down * 09 Summer Nights * 10 Where Is Your Love Tonight * 11 Friends Forever

Make It Big 01 Make It Big * 02 Out On A Wire * 03 My Heart * 04 Dixie * 05 Save A Prayer * 06 Times Are Changing * 07 Walk On By * 08 Rock N Roll Revival * 09 Money (Demo) * 10 Anything (Demo) * 11 Paint The Sky (Demo)


From the late 80's early 90's hair metal era come another long forgotten outfit getting their time in the sun years later. Valor, originate from the Denver Colorado rock scene, and had the looks and sound to at least give 80's HM/rock magazine Metal Edge 'Rock On The Rise' section a bit of a nudge. I don't recall seeing them in there, but I do remember many others. Musically, these guys equate quite well to Tyketto, Biloxi, Danger Danger, Extreme (particularly when they funk it up a bit) and also In The Pink, so it makes a perfect fit for Retrospect Records to get in on the act and give Valor a retrospective CD release fifteen years later. Actually, we're looking at two releases similtaneously, so the band obviously had a bit of material on their hands - but surely a much better plan would've been to put all this onto one CD (or a 2fer1?).

The Songs
The music on these two album to my ears is of a pretty good quality, though to my ears 'Toy Soldiers' has better quality songs than 'Make It Big'. The original timeframe for these tunes according to the liner notes is 1989 to 1992, and the names of well-known producers Geoff Workman (Journey) and Rodney Mills (38 Special) are noted in the album credits. No wonder the songs sound well produced and not some cheesy demos from back in the day.

Highlights on 'Toy Soldiers' include the opener 'Believe' with its pumping bass lines and thick keyboard layers, the power ballad 'Lonely Jetta' and the sweeping mid-paced affair that is 'What Makes Me Stay'. Also standing out is the Journey-esque 'Trouble In Paradise' while the funky pairing of 'Toy Soldiers' and the indifferent 'Down Down Down' is an acquired taste for some. The last three tracks on the CD appear to be demos because the fidelity quality isn't the best.

'Make It Big' - I thought the tracks on this platter were generally weaker than those on 'Toy Soldiers'. Still there are a smattering of useful tunes. The opener 'Make It Big' is a busy rocker with influences and styles coming in from all over the place. You'll know what I mean when you hear it! A pair of excellent choices would by 'Out On A Wire' and 'Save A Prayer' which hint at Danger Danger and Hotshot's style of melodic rock. But for me, the highlight is the mid-paced melodies of 'My Heart' which smoulders on the end of the wick. Again, the last three tracks are demos and lack for audio quality, but as with all retrospective releases from bands like this, getting all and everything in the CD is always welcome.

In Summary
I'm not sure if this band were inspired to reunite at all for some local shows in Denver, but at least their material is now out in the wider public domain. A couple of good releases; but for me 'Toy Soldiers' comes out ahead when compared to 'Make It Big'. These are both easy to pick up, via online retailers like Impulse Music or directly from Sam at Retrospect (URL below).

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#1 | rocklover on February 27 2008 15:56:49

I've downloaded the second album make it big from these guys. I must say I wasn't to impressed but hey that's just mehelpless. Anyway I love rock but this didn't do it for me, but i'm sure some of you guys will love this kind of rockmusic

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