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Articles Home » 1990 Articles » Trans Am - 1990 Unlimited
Trans Am - 1990 Unlimited

ARTIST: Trans Am
ALBUM: Unlimited
LABEL: Bernie Productions
YEAR: 1990


LINEUP: Klaus Opree - vocals * Schumi Schumann - guitars * Mike Viebahn - guitars * Chris Hoppe - bass * Charly Schell - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Fire In Me * 02 Leavin' You * 03 I Want You * 04 Close My Eyes * 05 Everybody * 06 Rockin' Rocket * 07 The Gallery * 08 Nobody * 09 Rsge Heart * 10 Give A Little * 11 Mark The Scotsman * 12 Woody's Blues

The very swift follow up to 'Fasten Seatbelts', given the time between albums and at least on first glance of the cover you could be fooled into thinking this was a live album, but it seems the marketing department and designers got there wires crossed, this is in fact a studio album. My other review of Trans Am by my own omission was void of facts, so hopefully I can add some meat to the bones, but by warned, it still leaves a number of questions unanswered. It seems prior to this, they issued a couple of EP's, plus in 1987 they recorded their debut album called 'Born To Boogie', with vocals supplied by Bernd Grunen, who went on to play bass for Zar, which if you remember were fronted at one time by Uriah Heep's, John Lawton. I have probably found more about previous members of Trans Am, than those who appeared on the two under question, although while I've had a few of Zar albums in my collection I alas never knew of the connection. I would be interested if anyone has listened to the debut, plus what happened after 1990, the only other fact being that Klaus Opree was drafted in from a group called Stainless, over to you! One interesting note for collectors, while these two albums seem to be distributed by SPV, they were recorded for Bernie Productions, and have serial numbers BP006 and BP008, and after closer inspection of the booklet, numbers BP003, BP007 seem to be used for the EP's and BP004 for the debut, wonder what titles made up the other serial numbers?

The Songs
Simmering start to 'Fire In Me', picking off the introduction of 'Livin On A Prayer', after that short interlude it is straight off to the Los Angeles boardwalk, challenging your brain to remember the videos of the likes of Cry Wolf, Blue Tears and even in the steps of Giant, to provide an impressive opening. This is supported by 'Leavin You', which has a more poppy chorus, straight off the likes of the 'Fireworks' album from Bonfire. It's a sound bedrock that appears on 'I Want You', which has a nature of early Cinderella before they got all depressed and bluesy, string alongside the likes of Heaven's Edge and Melidian if you want some good markers, and you instantly find that Trans Am have improved on the blueprint that was 'Fasten Seatbelts'. While it shows a heavier approach they are careful not to come to a grinding halt and go all second album Skid Row on us. These guys certainly have the talent and show more improvement on 'Close My Eyes' which proves to be a pretty good ballad. Planning and thoughtfulness has gone into this, Ok it's never going to be 'Patience' or 'Don't Know What You've Got Till It's Gone', but they push forward and they arrive at Def Leppard, especially with the mix of acoustic and electric swirls overlapping each other, as they then go all hysterical on us, with the drummer letting rip. Very accomplished. Combine the likes of Poison and Quiet Riot and they have written a stadium anthem with 'Everybody', these Germans can bring a smile to anyone's face, who said they haven't got any sense of humour? But just like Jim Davidson (British end of pier, comedian.. I'm here all week!) jokes, it does become a bit tiresome, but I suppose that's part of the course with this style of tune, great for the stadium concert arena, but home in a box room, it loses the affect, the builders just failed to build in the necessary vaulted ceiling I'm afraid.

Well The Jackson 5 had 'Rockin Robin' and Trans Am have 'Rockin Rocket' and if you thought Trans Am had left all that NWOBHM incline on the previous records, well regrettably it reappears here. It's back to the days of heavy metal, when it was all going so much better. In consideration I still find it passable, but nothing out of the ordinary, not as threatening as Accept and never to any standard of The Scorpions. To me the stand outs of 'Fasten Seatbelts' was the sublime 'Miss Marple' and 'Now It's Your Turn', and here the latter is somewhat duplicated in format and finery with 'The Gallery'. Is a storming Saxon influenced from the days of the underrated 'Crusader' album. I love the pre chorus; it expresses maturity in song writing. It's the star strike; you hear snatches of a Vivian Campbell riff that was used in Hear N Aid, Stars. A punky attitude and sleaze are displayed on 'Nobody', just as they bring the old upright piano into the middle of the room. However this is where the sea change is in direction, admirable it might be, but it sounds like a poor Slade ditty. 'Give A Little' has the image of a David Lee Roth fun bag, given when you leave a party and I wish they would had stopped there, so really best to switch off before reaching 'Mark The Scotsman' and the bonus 'Woody's Blues' which isn't really a bonus, no monetary value of musical benefit either.

In Summary
Even if I have finished the album on a bit of a downer, essentially they have still succeeded without jeopardising the melodic and plush hard rock core, let's just say the metal pips only get caught in your teeth temporarily, and they wash out with the likes of the first quarter of the album. What happened next?, no idea, they seemed to vanish from the music world, which is a shame because they seemed to be perfecting the more melodic side, which bearing in mind the year of this release, the whole genre was soon to disappear, now that's much more interesting and mystifying story as to why, than you will ever find watching an episode of the likes of 'Under The Dome' and 'Revolution'! (how about 8 seasons of 'Lost'? ..Ed)

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