Norway Rising Up From The Ashes< ?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />
2007, MTM Music/Zink Music
Despite their band name, < ?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Norway comes from New Jersey, USA and was formed by four local musicians in 1986 and the band’s first release NIGHT DREAMS went over really well in Europe and Japan. Now it’s time for a new album by Norway. The bio it says that the music should sound like Rainbow, Def Leppard and Led Zeppelin which are musical similarities I can’t hear at all. All comparisons with the aforementioned acts are wrong if you ask me. The music Norway plays is nothing other than ordinary (but well-played) melodic hard rock. It sounds like two singers share the mic. If we’re about to compare musical similarities, Norway’s music reminds you of acts like Journey, Toto, Bonfire, Firehouse, and early Bon Jovi. < ?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />
Norway takes the listener on a musical journey that includes 9 tracks and a playing time of 50 minutes, which is alright for an album like this. Most of the material is well-performed and nicely written. Some of the songs are really catchy and others have incredibly sing-a-long-friendly choruses. RISING UP FROM THE ASHES includes both straight melodic hard rock as well as up-tempo ballads and guitar-based edgier melodic hard rock – enough to please every listener’s tastes in other words. Unfortunately, the band focused too much on writing about love, which makes the songs a little generic from time to time.
A few songs that stand above the others on this otherwise mellow and even album are “American Girl” and “Tell Me”. Both are guitar-based melodic rock items with heavy guitar parts shared with lead vocals. “Save Me”, “The Power of Gold”, and “Haunted” are strictly melodic hard rock to the bone at a mid-tempo beat. Dave Baldwin and Joe Slattery share lead vocals through a few of these tracks and their voices fit perfectly together. I‘m not a huge fan of ballads, but “Won’t Let You Down” is a perfect example of what a great ballad should sound like with acoustic guitar and nice harmonies.
The biggest problem with this album is the mellow tempo. If you listen to the album a few times in a row you’ll soon find that most of the songs are in the same mid-tempo which gives the album an ambiguous approach. I had wished for a little variety in the tempo and maybe a little raunchier guitar playing as well. The album hasn’t got anything that really sticks out, and that’s Norway’s main problem. But those things don’t take away the fact that RISING UP FROM THE ASHES is an OK album with many fine songs, and I can guess that this is going to appeal many melodic hard rock fans worldwide.