A Rocktopia user review by Dairenn Lombard.
For the Genre: ***** (5/5)
Compared to the Era: ***** (5/5)
Summary: Melodic Heavy Metal for everyone!
'World Upside Down' echoes shades of Dokken, a little Yngwie Malmsteen, and even Eddie Money. Yet, this is another masterpiece by Kal Stahlenberg, his mastering and Dennis Ward’s legendary mix delivering a modern sound that is sharp and heavy. Melodic Rock fans will enjoy founding member Gregg Giuffria’s keyboard synthesizer work, but it is tasteful and far from contrived. Rather than overbearing, it heightens the definition of the melody in each song. However, my favorite audio aspect of this record is the rock solid, heavy and steady drum work by B. J. Zampa from his studio in Connecticut where he also tracked the legendary Jimi Bell.
I could have used a deeper timbre with greater breadth in sound on the guitar solos, and there were some inconsistencies on the drum tracks—particularly on the snare where, at times, it too sounded a bit thin. Nevertheless, I am seriously nitpicking when I cite these things, as I feel an honest review has to be critical. The fact of the matter is, I enjoyed listening to this record over and over and over again because it’s just so strong.
The heaviest songs were, “I’m Free,” “These are the Times,” and “Rock Bottom” with “These are the Times” SO thoroughly addictive, I not only bought the MP3, but it made me go onto buy the CD. I’m glad I did, as MONOWASP—again—hits it out with some of the most fantastic album artwork that I have ever seen. While not heavy metal, hard rock songs included “All the Way to Heaven,” “Million Miles,” “Ghost of Time,” and all three are absolutely PERFECT. I was especially fond of the melody in Million Miles but the groove on “Ghost of Time” is thoroughly captivating. A slower rock track, “Your Eyes” is right on par with “Million Miles,” but with, perhaps even better lyrics. I can’t pick a favorite among these because each had a different way of thrilling me.
No AOR album would be complete without a great rock ballad, and we find them in great songs like “Field of Shattered Dreams,” “All the Pieces Falling,” and “World Upside Down” with my favorite being the first. Just a gorgeous acoustic guitar intro, a beautiful set of melodies and wonderful tone and patterns on the drum tracks. Tying with “These are the Times” as my favorite song on this CD is “My Generation.”
Aside from the tremendous chorus—and I mean so tremendous, you will literally stop what you are doing when you hear it—the lyrics just say it all:
” My generation will take your breath away, just let the music play.
My generation will always lead the way, just like yesterday.”
Dairenn Lombard (Rocktopia user name: starfire)