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Articles Home » 2009 Articles » Charlemagne - 2009 Charlemagne
Charlemagne - 2009 Charlemagne

ARTIST: Charlemagne
ALBUM: Charlemagne
LABEL: Eonian Records
YEAR: 2009


LINEUP: Raymond Barrett Jr. - lead vocals * Scott Oliver - guitars * Lee Bryan - bass * Ken Kowalski - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Secret Romeo * 02 I Don't Wanna Lie * 03 She's Only Young * 04 So Far Away * 05 Is It Ever Easy * 06 I've Got You * 07 Chance Is Calling * 08 Last Chance * 09 Wait And See * 10 I'm Not That Easy * 11 I Wish I Knew



This is the first review from the Eonian Records roster, a new label setup last year based in Indianapolis IN. Judging from what I've seen of their line-up, it is a mix of bands who have been rediscovered from the original hair metal days, along with the cluster of current-day acts who reside all over the USA. First cab off the rank were the Los Angeles based Charlemagne, who were familiar faces on the overcrowded Sunset Strip during the late 80's. All the players came to L.A to attend music school at the various Music Institutes Of Technology. Though admirers of each others work, the members did not collaborate during their school tenure, instead hooking up and practising outside of school hours. It took a year to fine-tune the Charlemagne sound, which admittedly was slightly different to what was going on at the time.

The Songs
There's a bit of Firehouse, Slaughter, Biloxi and American Angel, but the Charlemagne guys add their own unique style. Ray Barrett's voice is ideally suited to the AOR/melodic orientation, but it's guitarist Scott Oliver who adds the colour with his interesting guitar lines, mixing up electric and acoustic tones to great effect. 'Secret Romeo' is the lead-off track, which has been featured on various sites for audio purposes. It has prominent bass-popping lines from Lee Bryan, the verses didn't do a lot for me, the chorus saving it from an early death. Much better is the next track 'I Don't Wanna Lie'. The acoustic intro folds out into a great Firehouse sounding slab of hair-blown melodic rock. Scott Oliver's guitar line on 'She's Only Young' is quite funky sounding and likeable, whereas 'So Far Away' moves in the same direction as that debut American Angel album, very edgy with a slightly dark vibe. Both 'Is It Ever Easy' and 'I've Got You' are mid-tempo flowing acoustic/electric pieces, the former has some nice sharp guitar solos and a powerful vocal from Barrett, the latter however, could pass as an 'unplugged' track. 'Chance Is Calling' is a very interesting song, one which could pass for the late Clyde Holly and Biloxi. A great endorsement if ever there was one. Charlemagne let it all unleash on the excellent but brief instrumental 'Last Chance', letting us all observe what potential they had. 'Wait And See' is the first true ballad on the album, a sweet and melodic piece which is easy on the ear. The band revert to their hair-metal leanings with the party rock of 'I'm Not That Easy', while 'I Wish I Knew' closes the album, a fluid slice of melodic rock with more guitar heroics from Scott Oliver.

In Summary
As a first off release for Eonian Records, it's a good start. In time we will cover a few more of their releases, no doubt cherry-picking the best ones that come to attention. Charlemagne, as a product of the 80's, may not immediately appeal to the 'download generation of todays youth', but for all us old-timers who prefer to stay fixated on the 70's and 80's, these guys offer something a little different.

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#1 | swazi on December 23 2009 23:24:09
I was actually pleasantly surprised by this release and it will be spinning again every now and then. Great job by Eonian to dig out these bands after all these years!
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