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Articles Home » 2009 Articles » Stargazer (Norway) - 2009 Stargazer
Stargazer (Norway) - 2009 Stargazer

ARTIST: Stargazer (Norway)
ALBUM: Stargazer
LABEL: Avenue Of Alllies
SERIAL: 09070008
YEAR: 2009
SPONSOR: Gregor Klee


LINEUP: Tore Andre Helgemo - vocals * William Ernstsen - guitars, keyboards * Morten 'Morty Black' Skaget - bass * Steinar Krokstad - drum

TRACK LISTING: 01 I Needed You * 02 Push Me * 03 Brother Against Brother * 04 This Is The Night * 05 Whirlwinds * 06 You Are The One * 07 Keep The Good Times * 08 Working On The End * 09 The Cage * 10 Dancing On Your Grave * 11 Window To The World



I've always had a fondness for all things AOR and melodic rock originating out of Scandanavian strongholds such as Denmark and Norway. We'll leave Sweden and Finland out of the equation because that's already a given. Norway has delivered a handful of goodies this year; Street Legal and TXS in particular, and joining them are up and comers Stargazer. Nope, don't start quizzing this lot for references to Richie Blackmore and Dio. They maybe Stargazer by name, but that's where the comparisons stop. Actually, these guys do have a bit of Street Legal about them (must be the Norwegian thing), but singer Tore Andre Helgemo is a dead cert replacement for Thomas Vikstrom, should he decide to follow in his significant footsteps. With guitarist William Ernstsen playing a huge co-joint role with his John Sykes 'destroys all listeners' policy, the duo joined forces last year, and factored in the addition of two well known members of the Norwegian scene: Morty Black from TNT and Steinar Krokstad from Stage Dolls. These four have delivered a powerful hard rock album which screams of the 80's. It sounded unusal to hear Tore Andre's voice in front of this powerful trio, as if it were Vikstrom's previous outfit Talk Of The Town doing hard rock/metal! That's how Stargazer came across to me.. big kudos indeed!

The Songs
Eleven songs are delivered with gusto, and things are brash and brazen for the lead off 'I Needed You', which has a riff which takes you back to the heyday of 80's Euro metal, a la Accept, Victory etc. Ernstsen surely has his musical roots grounded in the right places, while Tore Andre keeps things moving along at a good clip. Check out the smoking riffs on 'Push Me', which has a metal groove feel in the same vein as Electric Boys and their ilk. Lots of squealies (pinch harmonics) on this one! When they slow it up, as on 'This Is The Night', it's done so impressively. A beaut song, could this be Da Vinci resurrected in the 21st century? If only! Flicking through the instrumental 'Whirlwinds' we are left standing at the wall of sound that is 'You Are The One', a melodic arena rock special, it's followed by the changeable 'Keep The Good Times', alternating between quiet and loud plus tempo changes. 'Working On The End' is a metallic bluesy number, yes Whitesnake is the obvious comparison here, whereas the ballad 'The Cage' is layered in melodic veils, the John Sykes like lead guitar work from Ernstsen is beautiful while Helgemo reaches for the stars with his soaring voice. Great track! It's par for the course as 'Dancing On Your Grave' returns to more melodic mayhem, the album finishing off with the mid-tempo stomper 'Window To The World', which has a TNT flavour to it.

In Summary
A very nice find are Stargazer. You can't go past the fantastic world class rhythm section, but it's two new boys in Tore Andre Helgemo and William Ernstsen that steal the show. Big vocals, big slamming guitars, there's something for everyone here. Fans of Thomas Vikstrom might be intrigued with this album too, but by and large, anyone still keen on 80's melodic hard rock should find a lot to like here. Stargazer gets a big 'thumbs up' from yours truly.

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