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'Down To The Core'
(Frontiers Records)
Release Date: 21st March 2014

Gary 'Rockulus' Clarke

Rockulus Maximus


Welcome to the world of the three-piece, where three musicians combine their respective talents and crank it up to melodic!

This is the sound of the polished melodic rock scene but delivered with a precise and familiar sense of identity. Subtle keys compliment some tasty guitar and the vocals are clean and crisp as drum beats guide the tempo. Who is in this mysterious triple dose of trouble I hear you cry; well it came to fruition when the producer of this album brought together Josh Ramos (known for his work with The Storm and Hardline) and drummer Michael Shotton who is known for his sterling work with Von Groove to assist lead vocalist Tommy La Verdi.

Alessandro Del Vecchio wanted to bring back the singing talent of La Verdi after observing his output on the 1992 debut album by 21 Guns called 'Salute', and this project is the result of such activity. Is this assembly of appreciation of all things melodic worthy of your time though? Good question.

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It is one thing for producers and record label bosses to accumulate varying talents and combine their styles, but it's another thing on whether they reap some fine rewards. 'Down To The Core' is a solid example of well-done melodic rock but it lacks in surprise. Instant highlights like 'Never Surrender' shine brightly on the first few spins as does the slick ballad 'Almost Over You'.

From mid-tempo, to slightly upbeat and the slower tracks all get represented amongst the 12 that make up this album. 'Shadow Of A Man' offers up a tempting opening and settles in to a smooth arrangement before backing vocals add to the momentum, whilst the title track raises the urgency a little with some solid backing to La Verdi's consistent delivery. The latter of these two songs really provides a glorious chorus which encompasses backing vocals and a defined lead vocal.

'Our Love To Stay' kick-starts this debut album with power chords soaked in syrup and some tight sounding beats; lush overall but never losing sight of its comfort zone. The second song on 'Down To The Core' is 'Livin 4 A Dream' and it's a strong track; and so it should be as it was chosen to be the first official promotional song from the collection. Check the video here:

Most of the music here clocks in at over the four minute mark offering up plenty to digest except for 'Waiting For Love' which plays the role of the penultimate song. I would class this as another highlight with some delicious melodies swimming in the waters of the accessible.

Even the album closer which you may expect to be a weaker track offers up something. Starting out with a classical sounding piano refrain before being accompanied by some soft reflective electric guitar, 'Not One Way To Give' adds layers as the song proceeds. One criticism that might be aimed at this last track could be that it meanders along a little as it strives to reach the heights of a powerful anthem, but it misses the mark.

'Down To The Core' is what I'd refer to as a safe album of polished melodic rock ticking all the boxes that hardened fans would hope for, but it doesn't tackle adventurous ground or attempt to push the envelope; enjoyable and inoffensive without the threat of provocation or very much disappointment.

It would be quite plausible to approach this album by saluting the three emerging talents and adding some humble applause to the mastermind Del Vecchio for setting this output in motion, just don't go in to this melodic swarm expecting to be stung by ground-breaking innovation.

Our Love To Stay
Livin 4 A Dream
I Can Take You There
Never Surrender
Almost Over You
Shadow Of A Man
Universal Cry
To Be Your Man
Down To The Core
I Will Find My Way
Waiting For Love
Not One Way To Give

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