Released: 2005, Frontiers Records/Atenzia Records
Reviewer: Anders Sandvall
Philip Bardowell is perhaps best known for his efforts behind the mic in Unruly Child where he sings on the album UC II and for his appearance in Magdalen together with House of Lords members Chuck Wright, Lenny Cordola and Ken Mary. His first major job was at the age 27 when he joined Peter Criss and Ace Frehley in Peter’s band Criss were he handled the mic as well as the rhythm guitar. Philip’s solo debut were available in stores in 2000. It was a successful album called IN A PERFECT WORLD. Now today it’s time to follow up that success with IN THE CUT.
As you maybe already have figured out, Philip Bardowell’s music can be described as melodic hard rock that borders into melodic rock. The main focus is on Philip’s lead vocals and keyboards. It looks like Philip doesn’t have a full line up, instead he has help from two Swedish guys, Tommy Denander on guitar, bass and keyboards and Daniel Flores (Xsavior, Mind’s Eye) on drums. Tommy is also responsible for how this album sounds, the production in other words. And how does the production sound then? Well, it sounds just like what you’d expect a melodic hard rock album to sound like. The lead vocals, keyboards, and guitar rests on a solid drum foundation and all that makes the production OK but no more than that.
This second solo album includes 10 tracks and out of those Philip has only written 2 (“She Will Never Know” and “In The Cut” which he actually wrote together with Tommy)! Amongst the songwriters we find names like Stan Bush, Jim Peterik (Survivor, Pride of Lions), Mark Spiro (House of Lords, Bad English) and Curt Cuomo (Kiss, Steve Perry) in other words the cream of the melodic hard rock/rock elite at the moment. Of course, most of the songs about both happy / unhappy love, what’s new when it comes to this genre??
“In The Cut”, “Heart Of a Hero”, “Never To Late For Love” and “Dreamin’ With My Eyes” are all of the more faster and more melodic rock tracks. The up tempo ballads and pure ballads are called “Through My Eyes”, “I Gotta Believe”, “She Will Never Know”, “It’s a Long Road”, “One Day In January” and “Voices Of The Heart”. All of the ballads are pretty anonymous and forgettable but Philip has done a smart thing when he puts a harder song first and then a slower one, that does the material more justice I think.
Mark has a nice voice and he has been compared with great singers like Lou Gramm (Foreigner) and Mark Free and he really has a perfect voice for both ballads and singing this kind of music. However, this album is only for melodic hard rock/rock fans or for fans of either Philip or Tommy Denander. Otherwise, I don’t think you should hurry out and buy this right now. This album includes too many ballads, is too melodic for my tastes, and only the cover makes you wonder what this is.
Killer tracks are all of the faster harder songs mentioned above.