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Articles Home » 2012 Articles » Osukaru - 2012 Salvation
Osukaru - 2012 Salvation

ARTIST: Osukaru
ALBUM: Salvation
LABEL: Dusty Rhoads
YEAR: 2012


LINEUP: Oz Osukaru - guitars * Ryan Coyle - drums * Emma-Lee Gunnari - bass * Carl Dahlberg - keyboards * Chris Tiann - lead vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 Exit * 02 Highway To The Stars * 03 Hot Blooded Woman * 04 City Lights * 05 Till The End Of Time * 06 Never Too Late * 07 Change Of Heart * 08 Tear It Down * 09 Promised Land * 10 T.M.Y.S. [Elevator Version]



Joint Swedish American combo Osukaru have been hovering in the wings for a few years now. They came to our attention when we reviewed the band Eye back in 2009, and they've also released two EP's: the first called 'GBG2LA' during 2010, the second 'Never Too Late' from 2011. It's our first real look at them, after they were profiled by other sites and Classic Rock's AOR magazine. Their latest 2012 album 'Salvation' is a very good affair if just for one thing, which I'll touch on shortly. No two ways about it, the melodic rock/AOR that is being presented here is musically top-notch. Great guitars by the lead man Oz Osukaru and keys from Carl Dahlberg, all creating a sonically compelling environment. The fact that bassist Emma-Lee Gunnari is the obligatory bit of eye candy only adds to Osukaru's appeal. The minor quibble for me are the vocals from new singer Chris Tiann. Steeped in a sleaze/glam background, he comes across like a Ted Poley soundalike, which is not a bad thing, and when he's not belting it out his voice is kinda reasonable. On other occasions, there were some noticeable pitch issues bordering on cringe-worthy.

The Songs
The intro 'Exit' is a montage of backward masking audio clips, but soon we're into it with the excellent 'Highway To The Stars', I tried listening to this imagining it had no vocals, but to no avail, even though the musical foundation is very good in the vein of H.E.A.T. The groove laden 'City Lights' harks at a fluid style reminiscent to the likes of countrymen Great King Rat, Aces High and other 90's outfits from the Great White North. More sound montages can be heard on the muscular 'City Lights', this is quite a decent track with Tiann's vocals feeling more at home on this one. 'Till The End Of Time' is the first ballad, imagine Danger Danger from 20 years ago and you're in the zone. A remix of 'Never Too Late' is another in the Danger Danger meets Roxus playground, everyone pitching in to make this one sound really good. My only issue is when Tiann hits those high-notes. 'Change Of Heart' is bonafide AOR, the sax solo is a change in direction, but Osukaru jumps in with a six-string solo to rough it up. 'Tear It Down' is a strident hard rocker packing a punch, very late 80's in style, like a tougher version of Glory or 220 Volt. 'Promised Land' is just gorgeous to listen to, those keys from Dahlberg are exquisite and the structure of the song is really good. Again we get a twin solo section with sax and lead guitar occupying the spaces. The last track is an alternative version of 'Tell Me You'll Stay' which is on the 'GBG2LA' EP. This version is a laid back near unplugged one, nicknamed the 'Elevator Version'!

In Summary
This is a really good album, but could've been an excellent one with a different singer. I had to listen to this album over and over before putting pen to paper, and then critique each song from the perspective of the vocals. I come away unsure if Tiann has the right voice for this band, but it might be that Osukaru (the band) are looking for that little bit of abrasion to ride roughshod over what is a very very melodic band. If so, he's a good choice then, and I just have to adjust my perspective of the band accordingly. Worth having a listen, and another mainly Swedish band to be added to the impressive resume of contenders from that fair country, though from what I understand, Emma-Lee Gunnari has now departed the band, so Osukaru are back to the personnel merry-go-round once again.

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#1 | swazi on November 04 2012 10:30:26
Yeah, this is quite a good release. Nothing earth-shaking, but I did like it. Interesting cover, which I haven't really worked out yet.
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