Without a doubt, the sophomore album Forever Free by Italian guitarist Stephano Viana on Escape Music is a listening pleasure to this lover of Melodic Hard Rock. As soon as I put this on to give it a spin (old school way of saying pressing play on the listening device!) I was moving to the beat.
Reminiscent of the great bands of the 80’s such as Bon Jovi, Giant, and a sprinkling of Def Leppard mixed in with some amazing heartfelt vocals from Bryan Cole, and backing vocals from Terry Brock, this album is a no miss! Even John Roth, from GIANT, makes a special appearance on this disk! The guitars from Stephano Viana and Francesco Marras compliment each other well. The bass from Anna Portalupi is strong and engages well with the drums from Adam Ernst. Even though I’m not a huge keyboard fan, Pasquale India fits this band as a crucial part of the well-oiled machine. Great harmonics, well-written choruses, and plenty of hooks will have you air drumming along before you know it.
The album kicks off with its title track “Forever Free”, and Stryper-esque yell into a great melodic tune, and chorus. This is a feel great, uplifting song that is truly enjoyable. The gang vocals on the chorus are fantastic, and the guitar solo is right up there, letting us know how the pros do it, and why I only write reviews! The next tune, “In The Name Of Love” is another melodic gem…Actually, this album is quite full of them! So instead of going track, by track. I’m going to simply say this…
Do you love great Melodic Hard Rock, and the classic sounds that we all know and love? Then this album has eleven tracks of pure gold for your ears to behold. I’ve listened to it a few times now. I can hear Def Leppard, Bon Jovi, and sometimes even a hint of Whitesnake, but it stays true and original to itself. Simply put, get this album, put it on, enjoy it, and rock out!!
Trevor “Psychoone” McDougall