21 GUNS was the project of ex-Thin Lizzy excellent guitarist Scott Gorham, which started under the Western Front name in the second half of the eighties.
During his recording contribution to Project Phenomena, Gorham met bass/drum players Leif Johansen and Mike Sturgis (ex A-Ha, Far Corporation) and 21 Guns finally get glued.
For the singer slot, Sturgis called the wonderful Tommy La Verdi (ex-A440, a cult lite AOR band) who impressed him years before when A440 opened for A-Ha in one of their American tours.
Signed by a major label, 21 Guns debut "Salute" arrived in 1992 delivering a fantastic slice of polished Melodic Rock / AOR. This CD is among my Top 50 favorites of all time in these genres, a true GEM.
No fillers, just killers: just listen the kickin' opener "Knee Deep", the huge "These Eyes" or the melodic jewel "Marching In Time".
If you like high class ballads you have the grandiose AOR of "Tell Me", and then "Just A Wish" is just PERFECTION with Capitals. I love this tune, it's simply irresistible.
If you need more uptempo hard rockers, Gorham gets loose on "Battered And Bruised", "Little Sister" and "Walking" for good measure.
Oh, and I can't forget another pearl: the midtempo "Jungleland" is bloody awesome, remembering another band who released other delicious album that year; Neal Schon's Hardline.
The Japanese edition of this golden recording includes two bonus tracks; "Cold Heart" and "Blood Gone Bad", both from the final recording sessions and with the same glossy, first class production.
These tracks were later included in the second album of the band, but in demo versions. The ones included here in "Salute - Japan Edition" are far superior in musicianship and production, the definitive finished tracks and exclusive to this CD.
In short: "Salute" is Essential.
01 - Knee Deep
02 - These Eyes
03 - Walking
04 - Marching In Time
05 - The Rain
06 - Little Sister
07 - Pays Off Big
08 - Just A Wish
09 - Battered And Bruised
10 - Jungleland
11 - Tell Me
12 - No Way Out
13 - Cold Heart (Japan bonus track)
14 - Blood Gone Bad (Japan bonus track)
Thomas La Verdi: lead vocals
Scott Gorham: guitars, backing vocals
Leif Johansen: bass, keyboards, backing vocals
Mike Sturgis: drums, percussion
21 GUNS Salute - Japanese Edition