Released: 2005, Frontiers
Man, you just do not hear bands like this anymore. Combining the talents of Canadian vocalist Rob Moratti and countryman guitarist Mladen (of Von Groove fame), Final Frontier is essentially a paean to all of the bygone AOR rockers from years past. Featuring all of the sugary sweet melodies and fiery guitar solos that were the hallmark of the genre, HIGH TENSION WIRE pays tribute to bands like Journey, Styx, Foreigner, and the rest of their brethren.
More than simple copycatting though, Final Frontier comes armed with genuinely good songs. Right off the bat, the title track sinks its hooks deep into you, the catchy melodies and excellent vocals of Moratti combined with some wicked soloing by Mladen makes for an infectious tune that won’t leave you alone. Had a song like that been released back in 1985, it would have been a sure-fire hit. You’ll hear all of the expected highs and lows of the genre over the course of HIGH TENSION WIRE’s 46 minutes, and though you’ll hate yourself, you won’t be able to help but enjoy almost all of it. Yep, from the familiar Journey of “Two Different Worlds” through to the Extreme-ified balladry of “Let Me Be the One”, Final Frontier has crafted an impeccable slice of commercial hard rock.
Given the genre, there are missteps and cringe-worthy lyrics all over the place, and the album begins to lose steam after “Hollywood Drama”, but I’m still won over by the end. I feel somehow icky licking this in 2005, but damn it, I can’t help it. After all, this may be musical junk food, but everyone should enjoy a chocolate bar every now and then.