Burning Rain - 'Face The Music'

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Burning Rain - 'Face The Music'

Everything about this release captures the essence of modern-day bluesy Hard Rock to perfection.

There are some truly incredible guitar players out there today (far more than when I was a kid), but few – at least of the post-Yngwie Malmsteen generation – can hold a candle to the mighty Doug Aldrich. Through everything from Lion to The Dead Daisies (via Dio and Whitesnake to name but two), Aldrich has stamped his authority all over every single record he's ever done; his signature sound (rooted in classic bluesy Hard Rock) is as unique as a DNA fingerprint.

Coming out of the ashes of Bad Moon Rising (a much-underrated collaboration with Kal Swann that itself grew out of the equally impressive Lion) in the late nineties, Burning Rain paired Aldrich with then relatively unknown vocalist Keith St. John (who would later hook-up with the legendary Ronnie Montrose). Their eponymous debut in 1999, and the following year's 'Pleasure To Burn' collection, basically became the blueprint for his work with David Coverdale in the 21st century Whitesnake rejuvenation; a timeless celebration of the sound perfected by Bad Company distilled through a distinctly metal reinforced filter.

After more than a decade of silence, Aldrich and St. John revisited Burning Rain with the 'Epic Obsession' release in 2013; a shimmering, raging guitar fest of an album which left absolutely no doubt as to just how much input Aldrich had in reshaping that charismatic Whitesnake sound. As 2019 begins to discard the shackles of its winter slumbers, Burning Rain's fourth effort explodes in the darkened skies like a white phosphorous grenade!

Like its predecessor, 'Face The Music' is cut very much from the same cloth that gave us 'Good To Be Bad' and 'Forevermore' with St. John's smoky vocal drawl emulating the greats (Paul Rodgers and Coverdale) in their prime. From muscular opener 'Revolution' to the slow-burning epic masterpiece 'If It's Love' – via the sprawling 'Lorelei', the bombastic 'Midnight Train' and emotion-drenched 'Since I'm Loving You' (yes, it does have a definite Led Zeppelin swagger) – everything about this release captures the essence of modern-day bluesy Hard Rock to perfection.

With a rock-solid rhythm section comprising Slaughter drummer Blas Elias and Y&T bassist Brad Lang, Aldrich and St. John sound as mean and hungry as ever. Here's hoping Aldrich can spin this into his increasingly congested schedule because songs like this are way too good to ignore!

Dave Cockett

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