Released: 2004, Frontiers Records/Atenzia Records
Reviewer: Anders Sandvall
This is yet another debut album for a band on Frontiers Records. The band’s leader is Paul Bonrud, who’s a guitarist and producer from Seattle. Bonrud is a multi-talented musician with extensive recording, producing and performance experience. He started his musical career in Minneapolis as a session guitarist before he moved to Seattle where he met veteran singer David Hendricks, whom he described as having a voice in the mold of Lou Gramm (Foreigner). Bonrud and Hendricks started making demos and when it came time to lay down the drums they called up talented session drummer Paul Higgins. Bonrud and Higgins met while playing sessions and gigs for several other Seattle based recording artists.
Bonrud does the most of the work himself by playing guitar, bass, keyboard and handling background vocals. He also produced and engineered the album, as well as writing most of the eleven tracks.
If you, the reader, have come this far in the review you’ve probably figured out what kind of music Bonrud plays. I mentioned that Hendricks sounds like Lou Gramm and that probably gave you a hint. Bonrud is strongly influenced by bands like Journey and Foreigner. In other words, they make very melodic rock/hard rock that evolves around the lead vocals.
The production sounds just like what you would expect from a band like this. It has vocals as the main focus and a lot of sharp guitar parts. A standard production, nothing more or less. The mixing was done by a real legend. Keith Olsen has won six Grammys and produced albums by Whitesnake, Foreigner, Ozzy Osbourne and Nightranger, to mention a few.
It doesn’t look like they put too much effort into the making of the album cover. It doesn’t say anything special at all and frankly it looks like it was made by my 10 year old niece.
Of course, there must be a few up tempo ballads when it comes to this music genre and this album is no exception. “The Phoenix” and “Live Your Dreams” represents the up tempo ballads on this album. “Desperate Heart”, “Take Me Home” and “Hollywood Moviestar” are the pure ballads. The remaining tracks are melodic hard rock tunes. Hendricks is high up in the mix along with Paul’s guitar play. The band sounds like a faster version of Journey and Hendricks’ voice really fits this kind of music.
The album really doesn’t do anything for me and I can’t really say that Hendricks sounds anything like Lou Gramm. To stick out and make a mark in this genre you have to have something special, something that Bonrud don’t have. The material feels too weak and the songs don’t quite make it. And what about the name Bonrud? That doesn’t sound very appealing to me. The positive thing is that they haven’t used a lot of keyboards, instead they have relied on guitar, bass and drums.
Fans of Journey and Foreigner are definitely going to like this, buy personally I would rather spend my money on From the Inside or Seventh Key or any other high quality band from this label that have a personal style.