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Shining Line - 2010 Shining Line



ARTIST: Shining Line
ALBUM: Shining Line
LABEL: Avenue Of Alllies
SERIAL: 10 04 0012
YEAR: 2010
SPONSOR: Avenue Of Alllies

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: Refer next page for project/track lineups.. [click here..]

TRACK LISTING: 01 Highway Of Love * 02 Amy * 03 Strong Enough * 04 Heaven's path (instr) * 05 Heat Of The Light * 06 Can't Stop The Rock * 07 The Meaning Of My Lonely Words * 08 The Infinity In Us * 09 Still In Your Heart * 10 Homeless' Lullaby * 11 Follow The Stars * 12 Unbreakable Wire * 13 Under Silent Walls Part I: Blossom 'From Night To Day' * 14 Under Silent Walls Part II: 'Alone' * 15 Under Silent Walls Part III: Overture 'Death Of Cupid' * 15 Under Silent Walls Part III: Overture 'Death Of Cupid

RATING:

WEBLINKS: www.myspace.com/shiningline


Background
Milan might be better known for its two football teams. However, if the city keeps churning out top quality melodic rock acts the way it's been doing, football might be the last thing on people's minds! I know, Milanese residents aren't likely to change their football shirts for black leathers anytime soon, but they should take a shine to the latest project emanating from that fair city: Shining Line, featuring the two Monti's, Pierpaolo and Amos, though neither are related strangely enough. Continuing in the tried and true tradition of project albums such as Radioactive, AOR, Ayreon, Shining Line is the piece de resistance for the two Monti's, along with thirty other top musicians from around the world, who have chipped in on the album's fifteen tracks! Production has been handled by Alessandro Del Vecchio, with Michael Voss working on the mixing and mastering. The result, a fairly significant slab of melodic hard rock and AOR that should make it high into people's end of year lists.


The Songs
Well, it's a long album with a heap of songs, so we gotta start somewhere, and the lead off 'Highway Of Love', which you may have heard already on You Tube or MySpace. It features Erik Martensson (Eclipse) on lead vocals, and it's a hugely impressive start to it all. He sounds similar to Michele Luppi on this track, the overall vibe somewhere close to the recent work of House Of Lords. It's a longish track, at a touch over six minutes.

Harry Hess from Harem Scarem features next on 'Amy'. It's a crisp pure AOR tune, hard to ignore the Scarem comparison purely because of the voice, but if you to ask me who else, I'd chuck in Khymera as an example. Angel's Michael T Ross provides a synth flurry at the end to add the 'wow' factor! It's one of my favourite tracks on the album.

However my favourite is the sensational 'Strong Enough' featuring the Blanc Faces pairing of Robbie and Brian LeBlanc. An immense tune with huge (and I mean huge) vocal choruses. Robbie sings the lead here, and he sings with power and intensity. The guitar work from HungryHeart's Mario Percudani and Khymera's Tommy Ermolli also deserves a mention. Good mate Douglas R Docker puts the finishing touches with some stimulating synth work at the tail.

Alessandro Del Vecchio chimes in with a keyboard instrumental on 'Heaven's Paths', piano and synth layers colour the soundscape for a minute and a half.

Most of you AORsters will be wanting to know what Robin Beck's contribution 'Heat Of The Light'. Considering what we've heard so far, this one is scaled back, not as bombastic, with only vocals and piano during the early stages, it doesn't really set sail until well after the two minute mark. Interestingly, the solo section is preceded by a spoken word part by Robin, before Marco D'Andrea's guitar solo returns things to normal. Robin sounds great as usual, but the song was a bit muddling in structure I thought..

Mikael Erlandsson joins in on the action with the quite lively 'Can't Stop The Rock'. Very European sounding, and with Michael Voss's involvement, you can bet that his influence from previous outfits such as Casanova, Mad Max and Demon Drive is carried through - and it is. I've been a bit of a critic of Erlandsson over the years, but his recent work with Last Autumns Dream has been fantastic, and he is now definitely in the good books. Well done ME and Vossie!

The first real ballad 'The Meaning Of My Lonely Words' appears mid-album, and is a track written by Ivan Parsi, who also plays guitar on the track. Von Groove's Michael Shotton handles lead vocals, and like Mr Erlandsson before him, Mike is on form. An impassioned track, and though a ballad, it still has a bit of uplifting energy. It's a commercial modern pop/rock tune, in a similar vein to the latest efforts from Oliver Hartmann.

AORsters should enjoy the pumping 'The Infinity In Us', with Michael Voss on lead vocals. The immediate catchiness of the choruses with Carsten Schulz helping out on backing vocals becomes apparent soon after. Vinny Burns (Dare, Ten) adds a guitar solo to top things off nicely. Where the hell has this guy been lately? Come on Vinny..

The Dante's Fox pairing of Sue Willets and Tim Manford team up with former Axe and Edge Of Forever vocalist Bob Harris for 'Still In Your Heart'. The male/female duet of Willets and Harris makes for a good combination, the song is consistently good throughout, and I enjoyed this after giving it a few spins.

M.ILL.ION's Ulrich Carlsson and former Domain and Evidence One singer Carsten Schulz are the two voices on 'Homeless Lullaby, another Euro rocker, a song which suits these two perfectly. It's a raw rocker with Marko Pavic breaking out some manic soloing.

Another standout track is the quite beautiful 'Follow The Stars', with fantastic sound and a superb vocal from Phil Vincent. It's Phil as you've never heard him before, a quality AOR song with a lush and lavish arrangement. Great song.

'Unbreakable Wire' with the insistent chorus of ..'you and I, you and I, like day and night divided, so close like unbreakable wire..' is a damned catchy tune, despite the rough and ready vocals of the combined trio of Brunorock, Jack Meille and Graziano De Murtas. The guitar solos from Walter Callaro are a bit of a killer! Whoa! This one still gets a pass mark from yours truly.

The last three tracks are a trilogy under the handle 'Under Silent Walls'. Parts 1 ('Blossom: From Night To Dawn') and 3 ('Overture; Death Of Cupid') are instrumentals, and are in the style of Neal Schon's 'Late Nite' and Tommy Denander's Radioactive material. Which means.. 'lush'! Part 2 ('Alone') which has vocals, is an intense slice of melodic rock, and with Jaded Heart's Michael Bormann on lead vocal, this is a must listen! The guitar work from Mario Percudani is guaranteed to impress, and I for one am really looking to the next HungryHeart album!


In Summary
A full fifteen tracks, and in my mind - perhaps the best release on the Avenue Of Allies roster so far. There's 76 minutes of playing time, a great selection of tunes, that are varied in delivery of style, but consistent in quality. What needs to be mentioned are the contributions of the two Monti's, there's no doubt that Pierpaolo's songwriting ability is the key to most of these songs, and his drumwork is the backbone behind the album, so too the solid bass work of Amos who holds up the second part of the rhythm section equally well. The third leg of the trifecta is producer Alessandro Del Vecchio who obviously knows a thing or two about getting the right sound setup in the studio. I think we are going to be hearing a lot more from this guy, and if rumours are true, he will be handling the production duties for the next Markonee album in the months ahead. When you break it down, there's no filler to be had, the songs are good all through, with perhaps a dip on one or two, but not enough to affect the overall ranking. I give it a 9.5 out of 10. Well done to Zorro11, Amos and Alessandro for the privilege!


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Comments
#1 | roadrunner158 on March 11 2011 13:05:37
Very good stuff. Favourite tracks: Highway Of Love and Still In Your Heart (Bob Harris rules!).
#2 | Jez on July 20 2011 12:20:54
Been hearing lots of good things about this one on various sites and the couple of tracks I had heard were quite promising. I mentioned somewhere else that this has the feel of another 'Voices of Rock' project and now I have heard the whole thing, I definitely stand by that comment, although Michael Voss' production for the 'VOR' albums is alot better than on here. This is a good'ish album with quite a few good tracks, but somehow, it isn't blowing me away like I hoped it would and after a good few spins, I am a little disappointed to be honest, after all the raving I have read elsewhere. It's good don't get me wrong, but something is lacking along the way somewhere.
 
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