Change Of Heart – Last Tiger (2016) Running Time 44:23
Release Date 22-7-2016 Escape Music
Album Review by Rick Tilley
Can someone please tell me, for the love of god, why I have never heard of UK Melodic Rock/AOR band Change Of Heart before? As you probably know I listen to a stack of different genres of Rock & Metal but, when I’m in a quieter mood, bands such as Survivor, Journey, Foreigner, FM, Ten, Pride Of Lions, Europe, Chicago and even early Michael Bolton (before he turned into a housewives favourite) are some of my favourites, in fact the list is endless of more popular and lesser known bands playing in this genre that have graced my stereo over the last 35 years. Yes, I’m a sucker for great melodies, soaring guitar & keyboard solos and heart rending ballads, I always have been, always will be and the reason I’m telling you this is because ‘Last Tiger’, the fourth album from Change Of Heart, with the exception of the sublime FM, contains some of the best British AOR that I’ve heard for a long while!
Change Of Heart released their debut album in 1998 with guest appearances from Chris Ousey and Steve Morris of Heartland, then played a gig at The ‘Gods’ Festival which raised their profile considerably (but obviously not as far as me)! Since then they have released a further two albums, the last being in 2005, so it has been some years since there has been any new material. When researching Change Of Heart it seems, to most that have written about them, that the band had quietly disappeared and nobody was expecting a new album but in the summer of 2016 they reappeared with ‘Last Tiger’.
Vocalist/Guitarist and founding member Alan Clark was the person who contacted me asking if I could review the album and I’m extremely glad he did. As far as I know Alan is the only original member in the current line-up of Change Of Heart but this is one of the most professional sounding albums I’ve heard in the genre for years, the production is nigh on perfect (it was produced and mixed by Paul Hume, of the band Lawless, who also plays guitar and supplies backing vocals on the album) and the songs…well the songs are fantastic. Obviously the gap between albums has given Alan the chance to perfect these compositions but there is no doubt he is an extremely talented guy. ‘Last Tiger’ is full of hard hitting Melodic Rockers and gorgeous Ballads and had this album been released in the 1980’s it would have done very well indeed!
Opener ‘Rise To The Challenge’ does just that and gets the album off to a great start. Immediately noticeable, apart from the crystal clear sound, are Alan’s vocals which are excellent. He has the perfect voice for Melodic Rock with power and grit but able to mix between that and a softer voice. He also has great range and sings in tune (something which a lot of vocalists fail to do). Lead guitarist Nick Catterick is also fantastic. His riffs are powerful and chunky with well worked out solos reminding me of Kee Marcello and current FM member Jim Kirkpatrick. He leaves space where space needs to be left and doesn’t bombard you with hundreds of notes a second! After the up-tempo ‘Wayward Son’ next track ‘Roads of My Life’ slows things down nicely and reminded me of ‘Corridors Of Power’ era Gary Moore with a riff that is reminiscent of a slowed down ‘Kayleigh’ by Marillion. ‘March Of The Souls’ is a completely different kettle of fish though. It’s probably the hardest hitting track on ‘Last Tiger’ and is heavily influenced by the band Dio! It begins with an almost ‘Don’t Talk To Strangers’ intro and kicks in from there with Alan’s phrasing being distinctly Ronnie James in style. It’s an excellent track and one, I imagine, a young Vivian Campbell would have been very happy to write! ‘Holy Days’ has a great Whitesnake feel, ‘Hold Onto Love’ is a gorgeous ballad and the title track has classic Bryan Adams written all over it!
Let’s be completely honest here, Change Of Heart aren’t re-inventing the wheel with their music, nothing on ‘Last Tiger’ is original but damn, do they do it well. Anyway, fans of this genre don’t want experimentation, they want to hear the tried and tested formula being played with passion and skill and Change Of Heart manage that effortlessly. It would be remiss of me to not mention the rest of the band so John Sykes (Keyboards/Vocals), Jeff Hopkins (Bass/Vocals) and guest drummer Sam Ogden please take a bow!
‘Last Tiger’ is a joy to listen to from start to finish, Change Of Heart should quite rightly be much bigger than they are and I’m extremely happy that my first official review for Ever Metal has been so gratifying to write!
- Rise To The Challenge
- Wayward Son
- Roads Of My Life
- March Of The Souls
- Holy Days
- Touch Your Soul
- Hold Onto Love
- Last Tiger
- Stone Cold (In Your Eyes)
- Silent Rage
- Only Tomorrow
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KAqQUvgjeVo (Rise To The Challenge Video)