Released: 2012, Frontiers
I don’t know how I missed this band! Sunstorm is a band project, almost a melodic super-group if you will, and EMOTIONAL FIRE is already their third album. The personnel in this act should make any melodic Hard Rock fan salivate. You start with a couple of Pink Cream 69 guys, including Denis Ward, who has the golden touch. The icing on the cake is Joe Lynn Turner on vocals who needs no introduction. EMOTIONAL FIRE is my first introduction to this act but better late than never.
EMOTIONAL FIRE is a little slice of AOR heaven. Dan Huff and Jim Peterik are guest song-writers and their unmistakable fingerprints are all over this thing. Starting with a crystal clear 80’s style production with bright shimmering highs, clean tones, treated production this thing is squeaky clean, no dirt anywhere. The synthesizers swirl along weaving in and out or the song structure nicely. The guitars buzz along politely, never grating or offensive but enough kick to keep the toes tapping. The choruses are all hits, instantly memorable with big back-up vocals. This album reminds me of some other AOR gems like LOUD AND CLEAR from Signal, the second Kane Roberts solo album, SAINTS AND SINNERS and pretty much everything Harem Scarem ever did.
The universal lyrics are about girls, (what else) every song an anthem about love or a broken-hearted treatise with no less than two songs for specific women, ‘Gina’ and ‘Emily’ respectively. I don’t like the term ‘formula’ but almost every song is 4:00 minutes long, the 11 song album is 42 minutes long and follows a verse, chorus, verse, chorus solo, chorus, chorus, chorus style, all of it familiar and safe. Are Sunstorm pushing boundaries? Not really but they execute it so well it’s hard to criticize or find fault unless you are one of those, ‘It has to be original for the sake of being original’ type of music fans. Where band like Sunstorm succeeds is the pure, melodic song-craft and the stellar vocal deliver that Turner provides. His voice still holds up after all these years.
My 4/5 rating reflects more of my personal opinion as a Melodic Metal and AOR fan. Could I really recommend this to (by our rating scale) ‘every Metal fan’? Probably not, it’s too mellow, but for fans of this style EMOTIONAL FIRE is world-class.