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Released: 2005, Frontiers Records
To most metal and rock fans, the name Tony Harnell is best known as the powerful voice behind rock dogs TNT, who made a big return in 2004 with MY RELIGION. While TNT is certainly not finished by any means, 2005 sees Harnell teaming up with drummer extraordinaire John Macaluso (Ark, Yngwie Malmsteen, TNT, and Riot to name a few), Last Tribe guitarist Magnus Karlsson, and producer/bassist Fabrizio Grossi (those he has worked with include Glenn Hughes, House of Lords, Steve Vai, and even George Clinton!) in what is easily his heaviest band to date – Starbreaker.
Though STARBREAKER doesn’t veer to far from the melodic hard rock that you’d expect from Harnell, it is undoubtedly the most vicious and heavy album he’s done. The heavy riffs that Karlsson brings to the band wring out what could be Harnell’s best performance yet as his smooth voice gets downright angry at times (see the chorus to “Break My Bones”). Karlsson also brings a slightly proggy feel to songs such as the excellent “Days of Confusion”, no doubt carryover from the more esoteric Last Tribe. Somehow though, the band brings it all back to good ‘ol melodic rock in the chorus which is absolutely triumphant. Have no fear though, as this is still on the outer edge of melodic rock and still has all of the expected trappings of the genre (the ultra catchy “Lies” could be a radio hit with its infectious hooks and faint keyboards).
The whole band sounds absolutely on fire throughout the disc, ripping out performances that I’m sure are on par with the best in their careers. I’ll go out on a limb right now and say that you will not hear a better performed melodic rock album this year. Starbreaker is a band that is on top of its game. Damn near a masterpiece, STARBREAKER the must have album of 2005 for fans of melodic rock.
1) Die For You
3) Break My Bones
5) Days of Confusion
7) Light at the End of the World
8) Cradle to the Grave
9) Underneath a Falling Sky
10) Turn It Off
12) Save Yourself
Tony Harnell: Vocals
Magnus Karlsson: Guitars, Keyboards
Fabrizio Grossi: Bass
John Macaluso: Drums
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