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Articles Home » 2015 Articles » Ozone - 2015 Self Defence
Ozone - 2015 Self Defence

ALBUM: Self Defence
LABEL: Escape Music
YEAR: 2015
SPONSOR: Escape Connecting Music Portal


LINEUP: Chris Ousey - vocals, backing vocals * Steve Overland - vocals, backing vocals

Mike Slamer - guitars, B3 organ, keyboards, bass * Tommy Denander - guitars, keyboards, bass * Ronnie Platt, Billy Greer - backing vocals * Kerry Denton - drums * Christian Wolff - guitars, keyboards on 'Evolve' * Erik Sabo - B3 organ

TRACK LISTING: 01 Tiger By The Tail * 02 Let The Good Will Out * 03 So Blind * 04 Destiny * 05 Shadow On The Sun * 06 Save My Soul * 07 Evolved * 08 Self Defence * 09 Smile Before You Lie * 10 Lifetime * 11 Practice What You Preach * 12 Visionary Man


There's a bit of a shit-fight going on the Internet at the moment. Tommy Denander is caught in the thick of it, calling out Toto members, and labelling their latest album 'XIV' as a load of old cobblers! He's even been through the wringer with several well known Swedish melodic rock identities such as Janne Stark and Johan Nylen giving him a blast over in Facebook land. Denander is part of the line-up for this new outfit Ozone, featuring two of the best singers out of Britain in Chris Ousey and Steve Overland. Added to that is the guitar master and studio/producer legend Mike Slamer. All names don't need an introduction here. The Ozone project could be considered a 2015 supergroup, but it's kinda of soured somewhat by the appearance of Denander given his recent run-in's with everyone. I think mostly everyone in the industry is fed up with this nonsense, from all sides. Crikey, the AOR/melodic rock scene is small enough to not have to put up with this crap. Whether Escape Music head Khalil Turk is aware of all this malarkey is anyone's guess. In the meantime, let's cut through the crap like industrial strength solvent and get to the heart of the matter.

The Songs
There's a strong Seventh Key and Kansas flavour here, with Slamer, Billy Greer and Ronnie Platt (replacement for Steve Walsh in Kansas who has since retired from the industry) all onboard here, while Atlanta based drummer Kerry Denton has played with Mothers Finest among many local Atlanta outfits. In fact, Slamer is the main musical focus here, his parts dominate. I can't really hear Denander's stuff, though I'm sure he's here somewhere. 'Tiger By The Tail' is the perfect amalgam of Ousey and Overland, who combine easily on this opener. With the Slamer trademarks all over this tune, all of the legacy work from these three great musicians merges into one, and it now becomes a reality. 'Let The Good Will Out' sees an even closer vocal performance by the two British greats; the two singing dual parts together. 'So Blind' is the first of the power-ballads. It's very organic sounding with a bluesy hint.

'Destiny' could be a Seventh Key tune in disguise, just the vocal arrangement is different. 'Shadow Of The Sun' is the heaviest song here, and sounds totally rockin', I doubt you will have heard Ousey or Overland with this type of musical backing. 'Evolve' is another with an accelerated tempo, this one has a definite bluesy edge adding some real coolness. The title track 'Self Defence' features some harmonized lead guitar from Slamer, an altogether boisterous number. 'Lifetime' is the odd track out, a slower paced tune with organ and acoustic guitar played over some desperate vocal work by the two 'O's. 'Visionary Man' finishes on an upward trend. A fast paced exit, with Ousey leading the way. There's Slamer's familiar guitar coupled with some organ parts that layer the song.

In Summary
Despite all the Denander vs Everyone else issues, this album sports a cool name and an even cooler album jacket. There's a lot of similarity with the flow of the songs and the arrangements. I guess this does happen when songwriting is compressed to a tight timeframe. Also, it was hard to find contrast throughout.. I guess what I'm saying is that it sounds too samey. Does it have enough gas to make it into the top 10 or top 20 by the end of the year? For me, I'm gonna sit on the fence with that one. Will this team will get out on the road to support the album? I doubt it, as everyone is scattered across the planet. Maybe one day someone will develop an app where all the participants can play 'live' over the Internet. Wouldn't that be cool? In the meantime, check out how the Ozone is doing over your neighbourhood.

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#1 | DEMONAOR on July 20 2015 16:45:47
Hehe Denander's ego are bigger than the man, and he's not that small. Good guitar player but im getting tired of him and his mouth.
#2 | gdazegod on July 21 2015 00:28:55
I really couldn't hear much of his stuff. Slamer was all over this, by a country mile. Maybe 'Practice What You Preach' was one of the songs he played on.
#3 | DEMONAOR on July 21 2015 06:52:54
You are right George, Slamer touch on most of it.
#4 | jeffrey343 on December 13 2015 21:46:11
The first time I heard this, I thought the main influence was definitely Mike Slamer. Subsequent listens, however, have revealed a decent amount of Steve Overland's side project Shadowman. But it still sounds like one of Slamer's many releases. If you like Slamer's style, you should like this too. You'll get songs that, while maybe not super-catchy, are well-crafted. Lyrically, it's a little deeper than the typical lyrics of the genre.

While Chris Ousey is definitely a fine singer, I've never loved his voice. I do think it works better for me on this album than on previous efforts. Overland's voice is fine as always, and their voices work together very nicely. I do think Ousey sounds kinda like Terry Brock in places.

Did anyone else catch the pre-chorus in 'Save My Soul' and how it is basically a carbon-copy (even down to the lyrics in one spot) of a certain legendary Foreigner song?

Comparing this to other recent offerings with this cast of characters, I'd rate this below the latest Seventh Key album and Overland's 'Epic' album, and ahead of Ousey's self-titled album a few years ago (great sound, but I could never really get into it). Probably on par with the Terry Brock solo album that I liked better than many of you. I'm the kind of guy that would prefer an approach with catchier songs and lyrics I can relate to better, but that's just me. This is another worthwhile addition to the legacies of Slamer and Overland and Ousey. It'll probably end up being the type of album I reach for when I'm in a certain mood and know I'll have about 45 minutes to listen to it straight through.
#5 | gdazegod on December 13 2015 22:13:08
For me, Ousey's defining moment was the debut HEARTLAND album from 1991. Call me old school.
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