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Articles Home » 2016 Articles » Moratti, Rob - 2016 Transcendent
Moratti, Rob - 2016 Transcendent

ARTIST: Moratti, Rob
ALBUM: Transcendent
LABEL: Escape Music
YEAR: 2016
SPONSOR: Escape Music - Connecting Music Portal


LINEUP: Rob Moratti - lead vocals, background harmonies, production * Torben Enevoldsen - lead and rhythm guitars, keyboards * Fredrik Bergh - keyboards * Tony Franklin - bass * Stu Reid - drums, percussion * Christian Wolff - lead and rhythm guitars on 'Don't Give Up' and 'Lost And Lonely' * Ian Crichton - lead guitars on 'I'm Back' * Richard Chycki - mixing, mastering

TRACK LISTING: 01 Answer Of Life * 02 Don't Give Up * 03 Edge Of Love * 04 I'm Back * 05 Lost And Lonely * 06 I'm Flying High * 07 Within Your Eyes * 08 Midst Of June * 09 There's No Denying * 10 To Be An Honest Man * 11 Baby I'm Yours * 12 Euphoria



Well, I dunno about you lot, but I just happen to be a huge fan of Canadian singer Rob Moratti. This guy has released some quality music down through the years starting with his 90's solo material, then segueing into the Final Frontier era. But over the last five years or so, his more recent solo albums are just simply excellent. Backed by some great musicians, Rob's music stands out even more, as evidenced by the tunes on 'Transcendent'. Since 2011's 'Victory', we've had a Journey covers album, but for mine, 'Transcendent' lifts his game to a new level. The vocal arrangements are totally owned by Rob; you don't hear any other artist put so much work into this vital component of the AOR sub-genre. Rob also handles production with former Winter Rose guitarist Richard Chycki handling the mix.

The Songs
There are some big name musicians here. Danish guitarist Torben Enevoldsen, British bass monster Tony Franklin, Saga guitarist Ian Crichton pulls a spot on one of the songs while Swedish keyboardist Fredrik Bergh (Street Talk) adds vibrant splashes of colour. So, with a big palette to create an expansive musical painting, let's hear what Rob and his cohort have to say..

Many of you will enjoy the lead-in to the first track 'Answer Of Life'. Intricate keyboards are the prelude, Rob's vocals joining the fray soon after. Initially sung in a lower register before topping out on the chorus. Bergh's synths again kicks in on 'Don't Give Up'. It's a racy number, structurally similar to those recent Daniel Flores produced efforts we've all been talking about earlier. 'Edge Of Love' is given a smoother delivery, some nice touches here. 'I'm Back' is the track which features Ian Crichton, and it's a very OTT track to be sure. Check out the end guitar solo sequence at the tail of the song. Some lovely breathy synths introduce 'Lost And Lonely', this is a sweeping number complimented by Christian Wolff's guitar work. 'I'm Flying High' with its bright electric piano lands closest to the Final Frontier back-catalogue.

'Within Your Eyes' would come close to being my favourite track here, but 'Midst Of June' also gives a good account of itself. It's nearly a perfect example of how Moratti puts his version of AOR together. Surely those keys are straight out of the Find Me songbook.. yes? 'There's No Denying' continues the solid work to date, and at track #9 there's still more to come. From a pure AOR perspective 'Baby I'm Yours' is the absolute winner on this album. What's not to like about this pearler? 'Euphoria' ends this twelve-tracker on a high, the chorus is kinda interesting,with some pitch nuances giving it a point of difference.

In Summary
A very entertaining set, but if there is one thing I have to mention, and that is the guitar solo work of Torben Enevoldsen. As good as he is, his style is not really suited to this genre, and his solo spots don't add anything to any of the songs, so they are kind of pointless really. I would've preferred a 'less metal' oriented guitarist that embellishes the song, rather than someone sending it down the cul-de-sac. As a listener, when you don't look forward to the solo spots, you know there's something wrong. Well that's from my listening experience, sorry to say. Apart from that, Rob Moratti has created another super slice of hard rock, may we be thankful for small mercies!

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#1 | jeffrey343 on July 19 2016 17:49:43
I had been tossing around a review in my head in case George didn't get around to this, and my thoughts are pretty similar. I've enjoyed Moratti's work for years, with the four Final Frontier albums and his 2011 solo album. The Journey tribute album was pretty good too, but not essential. We're fortunate this year to have both this one and the harder-edged Rage Of Angels album.

I had seen for the past three years that a new Final Frontier album had been recorded and was close to being released. But there was never much info to be found on it. I never saw a listing of any songs. Which of course begs the question - is this album taking the place of that FF album? Judging by several of these songs, I think that's a likely scenario. There is no more mention of that album ( named 'United' ) anywhere that looks recent. My initial thought on this album was that it sounded more like the 2011 solo album than the earlier FF albums. But repeated listens have nudged it back towards where I suspect many of these songs would have been on that FF album. They don't feature the helium-induced backing vocals, and that might be what gave me the initial impression.

I'd be choosing between a 9.0 and 9.5 for my rating. This is excellent for what it is - the 'pink and fluffy' side of AOR. I don't notice the same issues with the guitar solos that George does. Enevoldsen does throw in some flurries of notes that may be more than is necessary, but the solos seem plenty melodic to me. I love Tony Franklin's fretless bass work throughout.

I recommend you go over to YouTube and check out the videos for 'Lost And Lonely' and 'Baby I'm Yours'. They're simple, featuring Rob singing and the band playing combined with scenes featuring the obligatory pretty girl. I still find that videos greatly enhance the listening experience - some things never change, I guess.
#2 | gdazegod on July 19 2016 23:50:39
I belong to the MusicByMail Connecting Music Portal, for which Escape Music has their promos available to be reviewed by Journos. So everytime I download their releases, I make a commitment to review them, then advise the link to the GDM article. This is good for Khalil and Barrie, as they can see what has been written about their albums.
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