Fireworks

David Mark Pearce - 'Strange Ang3ls' Hot

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Written by Central Electronic Brain     June 28, 2011    
 
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A very credible debut album.

Best known for his work with the Oliver Wakeman Band, UK guitarist David Mark Pearce has spent the last couple of years recording the ideas he's been amassing for the best part of a decade for a melodic rock oriented solo album. He enlisted the help of American keyboard player Lisa LaRue and bassist C.S. Brown, along with Swedish drummer Mikael Wikman (ex-Vindictiv), but it's vocalists Goran Edman (Yngwie Malmsteen) and John Payne (Asia) who will probably create the most interest.

When you have two such distinctive vocalists who immediately put their own stamp on things, it's inevitable that comparisons to music they've done in the past will come up, so the mid-paced pomp of 'Tell Me Why' and tuneful AOR of 'Save Your Prayers' could easily have come straight from any of John Payne's Asia records, whilst his final song, 'So Far From Heaven', is a darker, harder rocking track. Similarly most of Edman's five tracks are reminiscent of his work with Yngwie Malmsteen on his highly melodic 'Eclipse' and 'Fire & Ice' albums, even though Pearce shreds a lot less than the Swedish guitarist and his riffs and solos are probably closer to Blackmore. The highlights of this strong release include 'Alone I Cry' with its great chorus and guitar solo, the melodic rocker 'To Live Again' and the superbly emotive 'Eden Is Burning' on which Edman shines particularly brightly, plus his layered vocal harmonies at the end of the title track make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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In addition to the eight vocal tracks and a short intro there's also a great instrumental, 'Every Time It Rains', which builds to a trade-off between Pearce's guitar and Oliver Wakeman's synth, but far from being an excuse to show-off it's actually a very melodic tune with a nice feel and Pearce generally plays for the song throughout. 'Strange Ang3ls' has a satisfyingly retro feel to it with some nice traditional keyboard and organ sounds by Lisa LaRue, although if I had to pick faults I think the drum sound could have been better. It's a very credible debut album for what must have been quite a low budget, let's hope the second one doesn't take quite as long.

Phil Ashcroft

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