Released: 2009, Blistering Records
Reviewer: Alan Gilkeson
Moonstone Project's last album had ten different singers and double that amount in musicians, touted as a super group, it's hard to believe these guys are Italian. I never knew old fashioned 70's hard rock was a big deal in Italy. Who would've thunk it? This time around they feature one main (James Christian) singer and fewer guest spots, but enough to make it interesting with fine moments from Ian Paice of Deep Purple, Clive Bunker of Jethro Tull and Ken Hensley of Uriah Heep. In fact, the worst song on the album is the one song Christian doesn't sing. 'Closer Than You Think' features Glenn Hughes and is just awful.
Production wise we're talking about an incredible job. No wonder it took two years to make. Listen to 'Madman' to get the full effect of production values and a nice job on the Hammond Organ. Some of the music is quite interesting and at times very bluesy, for a moment you might think your Dad is playing his old records again, transported to the early 70's. However, the album never quite gets off the fence. Where the music can be occasionally engaging, Christian's vocal never rises above mediocre, sounding very cover bandish, perfect for the Rock guy on American Idol. Except for 'Shooting Star' where he's accompanied by a nice gang vocal, Christian never galvanizes with the music.
Part of me wants to completely pan this record but it has it's moments. The main problem is that it comes across as highly skilled karaoke. Yes the boys are talented, but it goes nowhere, other than places we've been a billion times before. I'm trying to think of a record where this kind of thing was successful in recent years and all that comes to mind is that Tesla's Frank Hannon had a side gig about ten years ago called Moon Dog Mane which released the album TURN IT UP, doing bluesy southern Rock quite originally. Pick up that album if this is your bag baby.