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Cornerstone - 2003 Once Upon Our Yesterdays

Dougie White - vocals
Steen Mogensteen - bass, keyboards
Kasper Damgaard - guitars
Allan Sorensen - drums

This predominantly Danish combo have been with us for a few albums now. Since 2000's 'Arrival', the band have displayed a great deal of intelligence to create music that is both traditional (from a hard rock perspective), and modern.. via use of all the technologies and techniques at their disposal. The fact that the band members have been involved with the likes of Rainbow and Royal Hunt reinforces that observation, considering the hard rock style of Rainbow, and the intelligence factor associated with Royal Hunt. Coincidental? I don't think so, more a natural inclination toward a style of music they all feel comfortable playing with. Musically, it is an enhancement of the sound last heard on their 2002 effort 'Human Stain'. This time around, 'Once Upon Our Yesterdays' takes on a slightly heavier tone. It has rougher edges, and is not as smooth as per the material we heard on 'Arrival'. You could say they inhabit the same territory as Brazen Abbot mixed with a bit of Royal Hunt. What is a given though, is that the music is catchy, well-played, and contains a straight-forward production, which is less 'bells and whistles' than other albums doing the rounds, but it is this (what I call) 'organic' approach which best suits them. Don't get me wrong, this album still has balls, but not as much gloss.

The Songs
The storming entrance that is 'Welcome To Forever' kick starts the album in no uncertain terms. Try feeding this sort of aural adrenalin to a dead man and I'm sure you'll get some interesting results! 'When The Hammer Falls' displays a deliberate riff that is both familiar and intense, the vocal delivery giving this track added 'life'. Intensity is repeated on 'Hour Of Doom', moody and dark to start with (not surprising eh), the track accelerating toward the end. 'Man Without A Reason' moves in classic rock/ballad circles, a hark-back to a decade or two ago when these songs ruled the album charts. Kicking ass big time is the vented fury of '21st Century Man', this is when I hear Royal Hunt and Brazen Abbot on the prowl.. organs and guitars coming 'atcha from everywhere! The title track has a Rainbow feel to it, though without the thin Richie Blackmore guitarwork in tow. My album highlight is the absolute stonking ' End Of The World', the celtic rhythm adding flavour to an already aggressive tune. 'Some Have Dreams' moves in the same direction as a band like Ten, where the epic feel of the arrangement takes precedence. Album closer 'Scream' has a bit of everything.. Dio like vocals from Dougie, big guitars, and a ripper of a keyboard solo from keyboard guest (and fellow Royal Hunt member) Andre Anderson!

In Summary
I read somewhere that this band were becoming the next incarnation of Rainbow. I probably doubt it and I'd also say the band members would agree with me. But what I would also like to say, is that a different approach needs to happen for album number 4, otherwise the 'more of the same' syndrome may get a little tiresome for an audience looking to see this band progress. However to be fair, 'Once Upon Our Yesterdays' is the sort of album which needs a heap of listening, as I've found to my astonishment, it grows on you before you've had a chance to dismiss it. Perhaps that intelligence factor is a bit more than I bargained for eh?


Track Listing:
01 Welcome To Forever
02 When The Hammer Falls
03 Passion To Warfare
04 Hour Of Doom
05 Man Without A Reason
06 21st. Century Man
07 Once Upon Our Yesterdays
08 End Of The World
09 Some Have Dreams
10 Scream

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