Your Gateway to Music and More from a Christian Perspective
Slow down as you approach the gate, and have your change ready....
Label: Retroactive Records
Time: 17 tracks/69:41 min
We all have guilty pleasures. We all have certain formulas that work for us. We all know that a project doesn’t have to be original to be exciting and fun, or challenging and thought-provoking, or uplifting, or many other things. Most music is simply the result of its influences. With that said, Emotion wears its influences on its sleeve. That sleeve is a ripped denim jacket from the 80’s.
Emotion is power pop, and glam metal, delivered with a European sensibility. The band most resembles the Scorpions (mostly due to a similarity between Emotion vocalist Mikael Lägermo and Klaus Meine), but also shows similarities to Dokken, Foreigner, and Recon. The band sounds tight and stands alongside their influences, not simply defined by them.
The recording work is well done, and I imagine that the remastering of this disc (and the bonus EP tracks) served the band well. The sounds are crisp, with an emphasis on the high tones, similar to early TNT recordings. One of the more impressive aspects of this release is that the band shows that it is adept at all speeds of songs: ballads, rockers, and mid-tempo jams.
The disc starts out with a keyboard-based instrumental (“Celeste”) that segues into stand-out rocker “Welcome to My House.” The keyboards are played by Jan Samefors. The guitar playing by Lägermo drives this rocker. Later the rhythm section of Ingemar Märtensson (bass) and Mats Ohlsson (drums) propels “The Burning Spear,” another strong rocker.
The first ballad to appear (“Rendezvous,” later reprised with its EP version) is a nice tune that looks forward to Christ’s return with simple lyrics that serve the song:
Hey, look out for the rendezvous
“Can’t Hold Me Back” is an acoustic ballad, reminiscent of the Scorpion’s “Wind of Change” or White Lion’s “When Children Cry.” It is a lament at the state in which so many children live. The first reaction of Christians should be the tears mentioned in this song, followed by the righteous fight for justice, though often it is confusing to be able to find the avenue to help.
Mid-tempo songs are represented later in the recording with such gems as “When I Fall” and “Cloak of Love.” The latter song settles into a nice groove, with a call-and-response lyric in the verses. “When I Fall” has a nice organ sound supporting the guitars, and later speeds up the tempo to create a sense of urgency to support the lyrics.
Retroactive Records has added the band’s 5-song Tip to Toe EP as bonus tracks at the end of the disc. 2 songs are repeated from the main album, but all are welcome and stand on their own as quality songs. This disc is one of the more pleasant surprises I have been able to review this year. It deserves to be in the collection of all lovers of metal and power pop.
By Jonathan Nelson