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Under A Wild Sky
Released: 1999, Frontiers
Kane Roberts. Anyone remember him? He was Alice Cooper’s muscular guitarist on Constrictor, Raise Your Fist and Yell and Trash. These were some of Alice Coopers best releases as they showed a more metallic side to the man. I actually saw him on the Raise Your Fist and Yell Tour and remember being in awe of the size of Roberts. He was the perfect compliment to Coopers theatrical stage show and image in general. Phoenix Down is Kane Roberts return to the metal world after some time spent creating video games, computer generated art and video production. Roberts had some success in the early 80s with his second solo CD entitled Saints and Sinners when its single "Does Anyone Really Fall in Love Anymore" hit the top 20. Kane then went onto pursue his other interests and returned to his music with this CD which was released in late 1999. Roberts has invited many guest musicians to join him including Mike Slammer (Steelhouse Lane), Jim Peterik (Survivor) and Vinny Burns (Ten). The majority of the songs on Under A Wild Sky were mixed by Michael Wagener who just finished the new producing the new Hammerfall CD.
Kane Roberts has chosen a more melodic route on this CD than the one that he mapped out for Alice Cooper when he was writing and recording with the former Vincent Furnier. The CD kicks of with "Reckless". A hard rocker that proves that Roberts is back in fine form. I Want It Again is a mid tempo tune that is a little more on the melodic side than its predecessor. The band slows things down with "In Another Life" which is a very catchy ballad that proves that there is are still good hard rock ballads being made. The CD closes out with the tracks "Alive and Well" and "Rebel Heart". The former being a mid tempo song about lost love and the latter being a great hard rock tune complete with some blistering guitar solos and a co-writing credit by Desmond Child who has co-written tunes with Kiss and Ratt.
When Kane Roberts collaborated with Alice Cooper in the late 80s they created some of the most metallic material of The Coops career. When Kane left Cooper, his music took on a more commercial direction which landed him in the top 20 on the pop charts. This CD carries on with this direction. Roberts leans too heavily on the mid tempo songs and never really rocks out. There are no really heavy or fast songs which Roberts is quite capable of pulling off easily. He does get high marks for his ballads. Roberts does have a knack for writing memorable slow tunes. Overall though Phoenix Down leans a little too heavily on the mellow material. Melodic metal and hard rock is making a comeback but if Phoenix Down wants to be at its forefront it needs to put the amps on 11.
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