Reviewed: December 2004
Released: 2004, Frontiers Records / Atenzia Records
Reviewer: Anders Sandvall
Earlier this year Frontiers Records released albums from projects like From The Inside featuring Danny Vaughn and Over The Edge featuring Mickey Thomas. Surprisingly, this is another project.
Kevin Chalfant started with the band 707 in 1983. His band Steel Breeze recorded HEART ON THE LINE which wasn’t released until 1996. Chalfant formed a band in 1985 with the Journey bass player Ross Vallory, the Tubes drummer Prairie Prince, The Who keyboardist Tim Gorman and the Alice Cooper guitarist Stef Burns and they recorded an album that was released by Frontiers in 2000. In 1991 Chalfant and the former Santana/Journey man Gregg Rolie formed the band The Storm with Ross Vallory on bass, Steve Smith on drums (both guys from Journey) and guitar player Josh Ramos. Their debut album that was produced by the famous Beau Hill. The Storm did a lot of touring with Bryan Adams. They also released a follow up by the name of EYE OF THE STORM.
In 1997 Chalfant released his solo debut called RUNNING WITH THE WIND and after that solo release he wanted to go back to the melodic rock scene and started Two Fires with former The Storm band mate Josh Ramos. The band went over very well in both Europe and Japan. Except for the solo album he released a follow up called IGNITION that also was released by Frontiers.
On this project Kevin has taken help from the former axe man of Dokken Alex De Rosso. De Rosso plays all the instruments like bass, guitars, keyboards and also does some vocals. Something I don’t like is that he has used drums programming. I think that it should always be real drums and the programming makes me hesitate to recommend this album.
De Rosso also produced this project and the only thing that Chalfant is involved in is the vocals. All of the instruments are recorded in De Rosso’s studio in Italy and sent over the internet to Chalfant in the US.
To quote the info note I was given “Shadows Fade sounds fresh and full of sparkling energy”. Sure the album is well produced but let’s not go over the top. De Rosso hasn’t managed to do anything special with the production or the soundscape at all. The music can best be described as being melodic rock with a very radio-friendly attitude.
I don’t know who has written the music or lyrics on the eleven tracks but as usual the songs are mostly about love. All of the eleven songs are built up around Chalfant’s lead vocals and the rest of the music just evolves around him, but he has a terrific voice and a very broad vocal range. “Twisted Again”, “Sooner Or Later”, “Without You”, “Give It In”, “Masquerade” and “Now That You’re Gone” Chalfanr shares the soundscape with De Rosso’s brilliant guitar play. The up-tempo ballads are “Run To Me”, “My Ocean”, “First Love” and “I Won’t Look Back” and in these songs nothing much happens besides that the verses goes in ballad tempo and the choruses in mid-tempo rate. The only pure ballad is “Speak” which sounds like a song from a musical or a Disney movie.
This sadly doesn’t impress at all, not as much as the earlier projects released from this label. But Chalfant has a splendid voice and a broad register and De Rosso sure knows how to handle a guitar. On the negative side we have the standard production and the poor lyric material. And as far as I’m concerned drum machines should never ever be allowed in this genre or in any harder music at all.
This album goes out to all of you who want another album with melodic rock or very melodic hard rock in your record rack at home. Or for all fans of Kevin Chalfant out there. But I’d rather spend my money on Over The Edge or From The Inside, which in my eyes and ears are much better purchases.
The best tracks are “Twisted Again”, “Sooner Or Later”, “Without You”, “Give It In”.
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1. Twisted Again
2. Sooner Or Later
3. Run To Me
4. My Ocean
5. First Love Song
6. Without You
7. Give It In
9. I Won’t Look Back
10. Now That You’re Gone
Kevin Chalfant – lead vocals
Alex De Rosso – guitar, bass, drums, programming, keyboards, vocals
Nick Savio – rhythm guitar
Michael Gardner – backing vocals
Michael Higgins – backing vocals
Chiaro Baro – piano