Prime Suspect - 'Prime Suspect' Hot
Written by Central Electronic Brain     December 21, 2010    
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An album that has many flaws.

Another new name on the Frontiers label, Prime Suspect are an Italian melodic rock band built around members of the recording project Khymera, with EmptyTremor/Genius keyboard player Danielle Liverani joined by guitarist Tommy Ermolli, drummer Dario Ciccioni, bassist Mauro Catellani and German singer Olaf Senkbeil (Dreamtide). It’s perhaps ironic that the press release should mention that LIverani formed the band after Tom & James Martin’s songs were chosen for most of the last couple of Khymera releases, and then the Prime Suspect album is released on the same day as the Martin’s new band Vega’s debut, and on the same label. I think it’s fair to say that even though the two operate in roughly the same genre, the similarities are actually few and far between.

Prime Suspect are actually a light AOR band who sometimes border on Westcoast, with excellent musicianship and a cool and subtle style that doesn’t fill the ears with a million overdubs and leaves plenty of space for the songs to breathe. Most of the songs subscribe to the laid-back verse and big chorus school, like the upbeat opener ‘What Do You Want’, the tasteful pop melodies of ‘It Could’ve Been You’ and the smooth harmonies of ‘Deep In My Heart’, all of which have nice instrumental breaks that are quite original for this style. Elsewhere the ballad ‘I Never Knew’ is a good song with some tasteful guitar from Ermolli and ‘Watch Me’ is as aggressive as it gets with a great riff and solo and a vocal that brings Styx guitarist James Young to mind.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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As much as I enjoy all the songs above I also think that Prime Suspect have delivered an album that has many flaws, amongst them the vocals of Olaf Senkbeil, who in addition to having a strong accent at times, is also pretty flat when using his lower register. The verse to ‘Change The World’ and the odd melodies of ‘I’ll Be Fine’ and the aptly titled ‘So Strange’ are simply too weak for a band who can write songs like ‘What Do You Want’ and ‘I Never Knew’, which along with some pretty inane lyrics will mean that about a third of this album will be dumped the next time I update my iTunes library.
There’s too much good stuff here to write the band off completely. It’s just a shame that some very good ideas haven’t been fully realised.

Phil Ashcroft

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Franco Cerchiari said:

As big of a fan as I am of Khymera, and as often as I listen to their excellent The Greatest Wonder, I had high hopes for Prime Suspect's self titled debut. Expecting to hear the same full of life, grand, melodic rock as what was heard on The Greatest Wonder's "Beautiful Life," "Borderline," "If I Can't Be," and "Love Has Been and Gone," I put Prime Suspect into my CD player, sat back and waited. With the exception of a few tracks, ("I'll Be Fine," "Deep In My Heart," and "Watch Me,") what I heard instead was a forgettable collection of songs that fell flat on more than one occasion.

While the heavily accented voice of Olaf Senkbeil is tough to escape from, the overall sound didn't on all accounts have that "from the soul," sound that melodic rock should have. Music is supposed to invigorate the listener, causing a sense of escapism from the world around them, and when that doesn't happen instead we finish listening to the CD feeling cheated.

So with the level of mastery and talents that the members of Prime Suspect have, this was a let down. I'm hoping that the follow up to this will bring to us a sound that we know a band of this caliber is capable of.
September 15, 2013
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