CD Reviews

Orianthi - 'Heaven In This Hell' Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     July 15, 2013    
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A musical triumph.

It's been three years since Orianthi released her second album 'Believe', an album of pop/rock anthems, bluesy hard rock plus a shred fest track with Steve Vai. In the intervening period, as I'm sure you all know, Ori has teamed up with Alice Cooper as his lead guitarist on two world tours, and with a further one lined up this year.

'Heaven...' is far from the obvious successor to 'Believe', but demonstrates a newly found maturity, having been recorded in Nashville with Dave Stewart (the ex-Eurythmics one) at the helm and containing more than a smidgeon of country influences along with some "swampy blues". In years to come, this southern flavour may be regarded as the album's signature characteristic but needless to say it also rocks out a- plenty and still retains much of the commercial appeal of its predecessor.

The album takes no prisoners during the opening salvo of 'Heaven...', 'You Don't Wanna Know' and 'Fire' as all showcase in no uncertain terms Ori's riff-heavy hard rock credentials, along with a soupçon of those "suvvern" tendencies here and there. 'If You Think You Know Me' is a more commercial, nu-countryish song with a glorious chorus that is one of several on the album with a tendency to burrow into the consciousness and have you singing along in no time. The initial bars of 'How Do You Sleep?' will have you believe you are listening to Joe Bonamassa; but it's Ori with one of the standout tracks of the album, lyrically, vocally and instrumentally. But the bloody thing fades...!!

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Every song has been constructed to allow Ori to demonstrate her prowess as a guitarist across a wide stylistic range and with 'Frozen' it's heavy blues. Another commercial song, I especially like the harmonica counterpoint with the guitar in the second half of the track, while Dan Dugmore's pedal steel guitar adds a sublime touch throughout 'Rock'. 'Another You' continues the countryish feel, and is a glorious ballad. 'How Does That Feel?' has a telling lyric and is an absolutely smashing song, and another standout that lifts into a stratospheric second half. 'Filthy Blues' is stylistically evocative of post-Experience Hendrix, while album closer 'If You Were Here With Me' is the third standout number (this is such a strong album that others may well have their own choices), and a simply wonderful ballad: tingles down the spine stuff, in fact!

Eleven tracks...but go to iTunes and there are two more unavailable to purchasers of the physical version, a development I utterly deprecate, and is a real smack in the teeth of album buying fans, I believe. Indeed, the feeble and insubstantial packaging of the album also suggests that Robo Records is also pandering to the download generation. Two very black marks, but this album nonetheless registers as a musical triumph.

Paul Jerome Smith

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