Between Worlds (Featuring Ronny Munroe) – Between Worlds
Frontiers Music srl
Release Date: 09/10/21
Running Time: 52:14
Review by Simon Black
It does seem a few months since I last tackled any of the output of the crazily prolific Frontiers label. For those not aware of them, this is an Italian label that specialises in supergroup projects (usually featuring a key figure from either a defunct much bigger act, or an act they are now no longer a part of), assembles a mostly Italian musical and Production team, and cranks the handle. A lot… It can be a bit hit and miss – sometimes careers are spectacularly revived, and decades old rusty hatchets are well and truly buried, even if Frontiers don’t always directly benefit from that (although to be fair they also break a few new faces that deserve a wider audience, more often than not from South America). And sometimes not…
I’m generally a hugely positive supporter of the approach, but can be quite critical of the sometimes repetitive nature of the almost factory-like part of their process, relying as it does on a large, but shared group of in-house session players, and producers, working back to back on projects to keep up with the insane releases schedule. All of which means that unless the guest artist at the centre doesn’t take an active role here, and put their own stamp firmly on it, a lot of the material can sound a bit samey. And that is precisely my frustration with this one.
Perhaps this is a side effect of the lock down influenced recording process, but the piece despite being very workmanlike, and full of robust performances, does not quite have the song writing welly that a vocalist of Munroe’s calibre deserves. That said, his performance is full on, energetic, and displays a range worthy of his reputation as a front man. I was expecting, nay hoping, that this project would be in the Progressive / Power mould of the material from his time in Metal Church or Trans-Siberian Orchestra, but song wise the material is much more in the Melodic Hard Rock vein (although there are nice flourishes in that more challenging direction from time to time). This is despite the presence of two of TSO’s musical team in the mix, and is no doubt down to the size twelve boot print of Producer Alessandro Del Vecchio, but fortunately this is saved from banality, because you can feel the tension between the mixing chair and Jack Frost’s guitar work and Munroe’s vocal lines.
I am hoping this leads to more work, but musically a slightly less Melo-Metal direction, and a bit more drive and variety on the song style would have made this a more diverse, and therefore interesting piece. But enjoyable nonetheless.
01. Between Worlds
02. These Walls
03. Life Enough For Me
04. Times Of Change
05. No Escare
06. Soul Chaser
07. Scent Of An Angel
08. Beautiful Disaster
09. Flip The Script
10. Beneath The Surface
11. Calm Before The Storm
Ronny Munroe – Vocals
Alessandro Del Vecchio – Keyboards, Backing Vocals
Pete Alpenborg – Rhythm Guitars
Jack Frost – Lead Guitars
Alex Jansen – Bass
Michele Sanna – Drums
John Lee Middleton – Bass On “No Escape”
Joel Hoekstra – Lead Guitar On “Soul Chaser”
Chris Caffery – Lead Guitars On “Angel” And “No Escape”
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