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Articles Home » 1984 Articles » Alaska - 1984 Heart Of The Storm
Alaska - 1984 Heart Of The Storm

ARTIST: Alaska
ALBUM: Heart Of The Storm
LABEL: Music For Nations
YEAR: 1984
CD REISSUE: 1996, Castle Communications (UK), CLACD 423


LINEUP: Robert Hawthorn - vocals * Bernie Marsden - guitars * Richard Bailey - keyboards * Brian Badhams - bass * John Marter - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Whiteout * 02 Don't Say It's Over * 03 Voice On The Radio * 04 Susie Blue * 05 Heart Of The Storm * 06 Need Your Love * 07 Can't Let Go * 08 Other Side Of Midnight * 09 Headlines * 10 The Sorcerer

I still remember the day I first laid my hands on this album, such was my anticipation and excitement! After having heard the Alaska track 'The Sorcerer' on the MFN compilation 'Hell Comes To Your House' I just knew I had to have this album, and when I got it I played the thing ad nauseum for the remainder of the day. It still represents an important part of my CD collection all these years later, such is the reverence I have for this release. Alaska was a definite commercial venture by a UK band trying to break into the hard to crack US charts. Primarily a vehicle put together by ex Whitesnake guitarist Bernie Marsden, he then assembled a band based around Hawthorn and Bailey. All the players come from a range of backgrounds, Hawthorn and Badhams were relatively unknown, Bailey spent time with UK pomp merchants Magnum, while Marter came from Voyager (remember their hit 'Halfway Hotel'), and he had just come off Marillions 1984 US tour. There was an earlier incarnation of this band called Bernie Marsdens SOS which morphed into this lot.

The Songs
The album is an excellent slice of UK melodic pomp where all of the songs are heavily laden with grandiose keyboard passages. Opener 'Whiteout' is testament to this fact. Baileys keyboards are fantastic, and he even gets the honours of providing the lead break on this song. 'Don't Say Its Over' is a commercial sounding track with an infectious chorus. Another track favoured for radio is the aptly titled 'Voice On The Radio' while 'Susie Blue' is a solid blues laden workout while another fantastic pomp affair is the title track 'Heart Of The Storm'. Then of course there is the' coup de grace 'The Sorcerer', still a classic to this day! Some of the other tracks are still worthy of a listen, such as Headlines' and 'Need Your Love'.

In Summary
To be honest, not a lot happened with Alaska in terms of tours and gigs, and not long after playing the UK club circuit in 1984 the band immediately went back into the studio for their second album 'The Pack'. Not as pompy as this one but not bad either. However, the rot was beginning to set in, and the band folded at the end of 1985 due to Marsdens half hearted commitment. There was also an official video release, a Marquee gig from 1985 called 'Alaska Alive', which is also a collectors item. I understand it has since been released on DVD. Good one.

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#1 | gdazegod on February 27 2008 08:43:19
'The Sorcerer' is dedicated to my old flatmates Steve Koch and Ewan Nichols, who back in the day, celebrated this song everytime we were on the drink. Usually every Friday and Saturday.. lol! Great times indeed! Cheers chaps.. wherever you may be!
#2 | rostoned on May 15 2008 22:27:19
gdazegod I wonder where the tracklist above comes from since the original LP had just the first 10 tracks listed....maybe the last three were bonus tracks on the 1996 CD reissue on Castle?hmm!
#3 | gdazegod on May 15 2008 23:45:24
They were.
#4 | gdazegod on May 15 2008 23:47:16
Certainly the first ten tracks came on the original LP. No question there. Where subsequent releases have added on bonus tracks etc, I usually will tack these onto the review as an addendum.
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