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Swedes 220 VOLT released three quite good albums at the beginning of the '80s, with a classic Euro metal sound similar to the first Europe. But in the middle of the decade, their recording label saw a strong potential in 220 Volt to be launched on the prosperous American market.
So the band decided to re-work their sound into a marvelous, Scandinavian-style Melodic Hard Rock.
"Eye To Eye" was the result, and believe me, if you never heard this album you're missing something great.
With the extremely talented Max Norman (Ozzy, Coney Hatch, Y&T) producing, mixing and engineering, 220 Volt obtained a punchy, glossy, awesome polished sound ready to conquer the world.
Released in Europe in 1988 "Eye To Eye" was pretty successful, with its consequent US / Canada edition the following year (actually there were few months in between) and different artwork.
What can I say about the songs... all are killer, prime Melodic Hard Rock numbers.
One of the highlights opens the album in the form of the moving "The Harder They Come", followed by another blast in "I'm On Fire".
A favorite of mine is the AORish "Beat Of A Heart" with some Def Leppard on it, and then title track is one of the more elaborated MHR tunes ever produced by the band with a Treat / Return feel and a terrific chorus.
Next, "Love Is All You Need" is a golden Scandi mid-tempo AOR power ballad with ethereal keys and skyscraper vocals.
If these initial monster 5 songs does not hit you, you don't like this musical genre. Those are what '80s Melodic Hard Rock is all about.
More quality follow with the catchy "Live It Up", 220 Volt show some of their Euro metal past on the heavier (but melodic) "Dog Eat Dog", while the pretty Americanized "Dangerous" brings to mind Ratt and alike.
Then arrives another absolute highlight: "Still In Love", one of the best '80s ballad ever created and criminally ignored on every 'best of' ballad list. It's elegant, melodic, plenty of harmonics and a pristine production.
"On The Other Side" is a cool rocker only appeared in the American release, hence, it's very 'Californian' with hair metal choruses all over.
The gem that is "Eye To Eye" needed a remastering, and it happened in 2003 with this now out of print, limited release by US label Power Play Records (officially licensed by Sony Music). The remastering is excellent, fuller and balanced.
The reissue features 2 exclusive bonus tracks; the really worthy melodic hard rocker "Criminal" pumped by a huge rhythm section and driven by great guitars, and a remix of the diamond "Still In Love".
It's a shame this remastered reissue is deleted now, as the album has become extremely hard to find. The only thing I do not like it's the re-vamped artwork that does not reflects the melodious music packed inside. I prefer the much better original European cover.
"Eye To Eye" is an awesome record, a must have in your Melodic Hard Rock / AOR collection.
01 - The Harder They Come
02 - I'm On Fire
03 - Beat Of A Heart
04 - Eye To Eye
05 - Love Is All You Need
06 - Live It Up
07 - Dog Eat Dog
08 - Dangerous
09 - Still In Love
10 - Money Talks
11 - On The Other Side
12 - Criminal [Bonus Track]
13 - Still In Love (Remix) [Bonus Track]
Joakim Lundholm - Lead & Backing Vocals
Peter Olander - Guitars, Backing Vocals
Mats Karlsson - Guitars, Keyboards, Backing Vocals
Mikael Larsson - Bass
Peter Hermansson - Drums
Max Norman - Backing Vocals
Michael Reiter - Backing Vocals on 7
220 VOLT - Eye To Eye [remastered +3]