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Articles Home » 1988 Articles » Torino - 1988 Customised
Torino - 1988 Customised

ARTIST: Torino
ALBUM: Customised
LABEL: FM Revolver
YEAR: 1988


LINEUP: Stuart Fox - vocals * Barry McKeown - guitar * Paul Diamond - bass * Brian Dixon - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Out Of The Fire * 02 Steal My Thunder * 03 Somewhere * 04 Can't Let Go * 05 Boys Go Wild * 06 Call Of The Wild * 07 Take My Heart Away * 08 Dance Crazy * 09 Never Surrender

The first time I remember hearing about Torino was in a 1990 edition of Metal Forces, leading me to wonder why anybody would name their band after an Italian football team. Of course this wasn't the case, the Liverpool hard rock quartet originally named Gran Torino (and prior to that Strangeheart), forming in 1984 with Fox and Dixon from the above lineup the only survivors from the original lineup. Paul Diamond and Barry McKeown (looking a bit like Ian Gillan) joined later on, with the band having a demo produced by British AOR luminary Steve Morris, leading to a deal with powerhouse label of the day FM-Revolver. Visually and musically Torino were in the same category as the usual likes of Def Leppard, Outside Edge, FM, Shy, After Hours etc, although with weaker production values (Morris also producing the debut) but some excellent songs and perms. This is so indicative of the era that it's almost overwhelming, with that particular sound that made it such a memorable time for British melodic rock.

The Songs
Looking at the song titles it's hard not to raise a nostalgic grin or two. How does it get any more reflective of 1988? What's better is they live up to the standards you'd hope for with such titles, opener 'Out Of The Fire' leading off with a Giuffria like keyboard intro before heading into near metal, the chorus finally settling into polished AOR, with a gritty edge. The obvious Leppard influence is felt on the magnificent 'Steal My Thunder' which is as good as it sounds. Some of the melody lines are of the highest quality, especially for a relatively obscure release at the time. The power ballad 'Somewhere' is too obvious, trying for a huge, bombastic chorus but not quite hitting the required heights. Things get back on track immediately with the classy AOR of 'Can't Let Go' and 'Boys Go Wild', the latter a huge anthem with more American influence than British. Up next is another anthem, this time 'Call Of The Wild' which is a total rip-off of Frehley's Comet's 'Calling To You' (more so than 707's 'Megaforce' due to the timing) in the chorus. I sat here for at least an hour trying to think what song it was similar to, causing a massive headache in the process. It's a good song in any case, with some Neal Schon styled guitar work thrown in too. Another ballad is inevitable and this time it's 'Take My Heart Away' which this time could have been on any Outside Edge album. It's right in that arena of sound. The tension filled 'Dance Crazy' isn't quite as addictive, although the riffs are relatively pulsating, giving it a soundtrack feel. The unifying chants of 'Never Surrender' are a fitting way to end the album, no doubt raising the fists of leather clad hard rockers in small clubs throughout the U.K. in the late 80's.

In Summary
Another album followed in 1989, this time titled `Rock It' continuing Torino's penchant for riveting titles. By this time Diamond was gone and the band was already on the verge of collapse, confirmed a year later. The production on the follow up was far more improved, but it lacked the AOR charm of the debut, more hard rock inclined. The members of the band went on their journeyman ways, but they can claim to have made their imprint on an overcrowded and competitive scene that was saturated with similar bands in 1988. This is an above average addition to that scene, which not many bands can lay claim to.

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#1 | DEMONAOR on April 06 2014 13:25:19
Pretty good album.
#2 | gdazegod on April 06 2014 21:56:18
I liked it too. I was listening to it as I was editing Alun's review yesterday. Barry does indeed look like Ian Gillan in the photos for this album. Wasn't quite convinced by Stuart's vocal, but there were some nice touches throughout this.
#3 | Nick C on April 09 2014 01:09:34
I have a pretty dodgy demo tape...before Paul joined on bass when they were called Gran Torino (no d at the end), I'm sure Out of the Fire is called INTO the fire on the tape.....but I might be wrong...either way the song used to get a few heads banging in Jillys and the Banshee clubs in Manchester. If I can find it I'll post the artrwok.
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