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Paul Di'Anno was excellent in Iron Maiden and has one of the best voices in metal, so naturally I was very enticed when I heard he had a solo outing coming out. While not a bad release it isn't what you'd expect either. This is a very keyboard dominated pop-metal album, musically it's very comparable to Blue Oyster Cult's more pop-rock oriented material with some Journey thrown in. As for the lyrics, think along the lines of Don Dokken's typical "heartbreak" material.
While this sounds pretty disappointing for a metal album, it comes off great as the pop rock/metal album it is, for the most part rocking along quite nicely, despite the synth domination. The only complaints that can really be made here is that while Paul's vocals do shine on this album, he doesn't really seem to go all out at any point here like he did with Iron Maiden and later with Battlezone and Killers, and they don't sound as rough either he does manage to add in some of his screams at the end of a few songs though.The keyboard/piano dominating over the guitar is slightly annoying on this on too. It does fit in with the songs nicely, but more soloing & riffs would be much better than synth shit any day. The songwriting sounds pretty together for the most part here, with only one or two songs sounding uninspired. As for the production, it sounds pretty good.
As for the individual songs themselves, the album starts off great with one the best songs "Flaming Heart" which is a great rocker that actually manages to get some good guitar work and yes even a solo, as does the next song "Heartuser", and they come off pretty great in spite of the synth. "Here To Stay" and "The Runner" in particular remind me of the formula BOC used on "Mirrors" and for the most part aren't very memorable but are very enjoyable and fit the album well with the latter of the too being more of a rocker as well. "Tales Of The Unexpected" is the one in particular that sounds like Journey, right down to the bass effects and is pretty close to being a ballad. "Razor Edge" is another one of the more rockier songs on the album, and features a great riff and a convential piano as opposed to a keyboard and gets the album back up to pace after the previous slower song. "Bright Lights" features some nice riffs, but is one of the less memorable ones here the same goes for "Lady Heartbreak" and "Antigua" which follow it. "Road Rat" is a very poppy rock song which closes the album on an upbeat note, but it isnt that bad either.
All in all, something more metal would've given Paul a better chance to do what he does best, but this album is great for what it is, and compared to alot of the 70's pop rock it sounds like, "Di'Anno" easily comes out on top of these. I suggest getting it if you like Paul's voice, and that kind of pop-metal/rock, but don't expect something Maiden-esque here. In that case, the three albums he did with Battlezone and his work with Killers is more the heavier route you'd expect.
I have a very hard time calling this piece of art metal. It has distorted guitars but not much. There is more piano in this music then there is guitars. I wonder if this is the same Di'Anno from Iron Maiden? If it is, then Di'Anno surely has lost his touch for metal. The best band I could compare this with is John Cougar Mellencamp meets Journey, yeah it's that scarry!
The production isn't the greatest. The first song that busts out is Flaming Heart, which right away you can hear the pretty crappy production. It almost sounds like it was recorded in 1970. Flaming Heart isn't really a bad song, but it's just not metal, and most definetly not Iron Maiden sounding. The riffs are chessy, the distortion guitars and solo (not much), the piano and symphonics are way overdone. Almost sounds like a video game at certain points in the song.
The whole album comes out in this fashion. Not many good guitar riffs. Some of the good riffs and solo's are: solo to Road Rat and main riff of Razor Edge (the only real song that is really good on this album). The piano rules this album with an iron fist. Meaning there is way to much piano. And I am not talking about Symphony X keyboards, I am talking about Elton John type rock n roll piano playing. The singing isn't as great as I thought it would be. Paul Di'Anno doesn't cut it off with his ruff cut vocal tone that was present on Iron Maiden's Killer album. This vocal tone hardly moves, and doesn't have the rough edge cut. An example of his vocals are on the song Tales of the Unexpected which reminds me of some tv show anthem. Very girly like, and definetly not cut throat range.
This isn't a bad album at all, if it were mentioned as a pop rock album. There are only three decent songs on this album: Razor Edge, Here To Stay, and Flaming Heart. Everything else is decent if you like pop rock, or very soft rock n roll. Not heavy metal, not Iron Maiden, Di'Anno lost his touch for metal on this album!