In 2001, we were introduced to this entity as they unleashed their self-titled debut album. In 2004, we were then treated to a second helping when they presented Melodic Rock fans with 'The Raging Fire'. Fast forward that time machine to 2013 and we are about to indulge our ears with 'I Will Survive' from the creative brains of Mike Slamer and Billy Greer.
If you're a little unsure of the identity of these two masterminds, then let me quickly fill you in. Slamer made a name for himself in a UK-based progressive rock band called City Boy during the 70s who released seven albums during 1976 to 1981. Mr Greer is more often associated with the band Kansas since joining their ranks in the 80s.
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'I Will Survive' contains eleven strong melody-based slick examples of the lighter end of the Rock music genre and is another gem unmasked in time for the Christmas market by a shrewd record label. Keyboards dance and twirl in and out as some restrained guitars bring up the rear. Oh, and listen out for some tasteful violin from David Ragsdale on 'Sea Of Dreams'.
Ragsdale has worked with Kansas throughout the 90s and apparently began playing the violin at the age of three. Now that's what I call devotion!
Other guests that provide their support to this album include a talented fellow called Terry Brock. For more about this guy, please do your best to check out his rather excellent 'Diamond Blue' album where he taps the sound of Leppard a little amongst his own brand of melodic rock.
This album begins with an instrumental work out as the title track goes through the gears, and gradually we receive the message loud and clear that this set is going to be a collection of top quality syrup. Take highlights where harmony vocals and soft sprinkles of instrumentation allow the songs to breathe and stimulate, like on 'What Love's Supposed To Be', 'It's Just A State Of Mind' and #'Down' for example.
On the latter, the guitar gets a groove in places and is notable for being chunky.
'I See You There' is so sweet it could have been wrapped up in layers of Walt Disney before being dipped in sugar. This isn't a criticism as it not only sits comfortably within the context of the rest of this album, but provides a slower and suitable change of tempo until the chorus leaps out of the fabric of the song.
The same overall vibe can be experienced on the track 'Time And Time Again' where the verses are soaked in emotive expression and tasteful backing from the instruments before injecting a hook-laden chorus.
Since Greer and Slamer's musical output in a band called Streets during the 80s, it is evident how much enjoyment the two get out of creating together. Slamer is credited for not only producing and mixing 'I Will Survive,” but also gets credits for his contribution on guitar, keys and programming. Greer is the focal point in other ways as he plays bass and provides some solid lead vocals.
'I Will Survive' is coated in an irresistible case of whatever adjective you can conjure and should satisfy melodic rock fans who appreciate the finer moments of the lighter end of rock music.
Dare I say that this release could be good for a present this Festive Season? The benchmark recently has certainly been raised in this area of the rock scene, although due to the amount of the good stuff available it may simply be down to loyalties as opposed to the quality of the music.
Billy Greer: Bass, Lead Vocals
Mike Slamer: Guitars, Keyboards, Programming
Chet Wynd: Drums
David Ragsdale: Violin
Billy Trudel, Terry Brock, Bobby Capps: Background vocals
Barry 'The Blade' Johnson: Guitar
David Manion: Keyboards
Produced and mixed by Mike Slamer
1. I Will Survive
2. Lay In On The Line
3. I See You There
4. It's Just A State Of Mind
5. Sea Of Dreams
6. Time And Time Again
7. When Love Sets You Free
9. The Only One
10. What's Love Supposed To Be
11. I Want It All