Tuesday, March 24, 2020

TURN - Turn Back Time (2001)

TURN - Turn Back Time (2001)
Requested in "Request & Fill Corner" section...

TURN was formed at the end of the Nineties by bass player Pee Bonfert together with long-term friends Martin Kalus (vocals) and Drummer Axek Winkler around around Stuttgart, South Germany.

With guitarist Jacek Jan Zajac and keyboard player Markus Metzger (later in SUBWAY) aboard, started independently in 2000 the recording of their debut album. The sessions were delayed by the vocalist illness, which was replaced by young singer Steffen Lauth.

The band recorded 9 tracks, but due the low budget (self-financed) they decided to release a 5-track CD; "Turn Back Time".
TURN plays a truly enjoyable Melodic Rock / AOR here, influenced by classic major acts but with some modern touches.
"Change The Letters" opens with an acoustic intro that soon turns into a catchy uptempo melodic rocker with layered keyboards and very good backing vocals. The additional programming drums adds a cool modern (yet not annoying) feel to the song. Swedes' T'Bell come to mind here.
"Crazy Mama" is driven by more strong guitars and a fine electric piano line that reminds you Jonathan Cain / Journey. But the overall song-style recalls '90s Alien or Hugo/Valentine.

The third song is musically the most complete on the CD. It's a smooth very European midtempo MR / AOR tune in the Street Talk vein, with really good instrumentation and harmony vocals.
Next we have the melodious ballad "Honesty", filled with dreamy keyboards. Nice one. Closing track "Living in Darkness" is another good modern midpaced melodic rocker, again with clever programming in the background and an '80s feel in the chorus.

"Turn Back Time" is one of the best indies of the beginning of the new millennium, combining the ear-candy sound of '80s Melodic Rock / AOR with modern programming which gives to the music an original twist.
Not in vain Dan Huff (Giant) was interested to produce these guys, but when he was available in his busy schedule, the original singer got sick. A pity.
Anyway, TURN managed to obtain a remarkable sound out of these songs, produced and arranged by keyboard player Markus Metzger with the help of Bonfert.
Good Stuff, rare and Out Of Print.

1 - Change The Letters
2 - Crazy Mama
3 - Dream Dancer
4 - Honesty
5 - Living In Darkness

Markus Metzger: Keyboards, Progamming
Steffen Lauth: Vocals
Jacek Jan Zajac: Guitars, Backing Vocals
Pee Bonfert: Bass, Backing Vocals
Axel Winkler: Drums, Backing Vocals
Ralpf Flinn: add. Backing Vocals & Acoustic Guitar

TURN - Turn Back Time _ HERE

Thursday, March 05, 2020

NIKKI CRUZE - Nikki Cruze (1995)

NIKKI CRUZE - Nikki Cruze (1995) front

Hailing from British Columbia, Canada, despite their name NIKKI CRUZE weren't a glam hard rock / sleaze band. They were not exactly a band but a duo, and while this, their self-titled album was released in 1995, their musical style is pure '80s inspired Melodic Rock / AOR.
The album is not the case - as happened with many acts - which recorded their songs in the Eighties and only got the chance to release them several years later; nope, NIKKI CRUZE wanted to play this melodious, feel-good kind of music in the midst of the dark, depressive grunge peak, because they wanted to.

Of course, no recording label bet a dime for NIKKI CRUZE in the mid-Nineties, but again, they didn't care, and released "Nikki Cruze" by themselves.
Consisting of lead vocalist Robin Lei Tietz and Craig Passant, both multi-instrumentalists as well, NIKKI CRUZE delivers here some awesome tunes and melodies.
While all managed by themselves and taped at different recording facilities, the album production, mix and mastering is very good.

The first thing that comes to mind when listening to "Nikki Cruze" is '80s Triumph commercial era, not for both being of Canadian origin, but simply because Robin Lei Tietz has a vocal color and phrasing very similar to Rik Emmett.
There's many other comparison to make such as Flyweil, some Def Leppard or Marchello, even some Hugo in the AOR moments.

NIKKI CRUZE - Nikki Cruze (1995) back

All songs are strong, and really good. When originally released, several copies appeared overseas, and the mouth to mouth even reached Japan. So NIKKI CRUZE did a re-release by popular demand from fans in the UK, Germany, Italy, USA, and Japan. Of course, the disc is a collectors piece nowadays.

01 - Comin' Home
02 - Joe's Song
03 - So Many Nights
04 - Open Up The Skies
05 - You Were With Me
06 - Stop The Blast
07 - You Are The Light
08 - Say Goodnight
09 - Again
10 - We Rock

Robin Lei Tietz - lead & background vocals, drums, guitars
Craig Passant - guitars, bass, keyboards, backing vocals

NIKKI CRUZE - Nikki Cruze (1995) HERE