Released: 2006, Frontiers Records/Atenzia Records
Reviewer: Anders Sandvall
Tony O’Hara is mostly known to people for his involvement and membership in the melodic metal act Praying Mantis that he joined in 1998. The band recorded the album FOREVER IN TIME which received good reviews and especially Tony O’Hara on lead vocalist got positive feedback for his efforts on that album. Praying Mantis’ second album NOWHERE TO HIDE is considered a minor masterpiece and they played at Gods 2000 Festival in Wigan U.K. in 2000.
After that O’Hara retired from the music industry and began teaching music at the Music College in Birmingham. At the same time he was also out on the road as a permanent member in Andy Scott’s Sweet, an act he has recently left. The idea to release a solo album was born and the head chief of Frontiers Records put Tony O’Hara in contact with the Swedish guitar wizard and producer Magnus Karlsson (Last Tribe, Starbreaker, Allen/Lande). They began exchanging ideas and demos on the internet and this album is the result of their cooperation.
Tony O’Hara has devoted his solo album entirely to melodic metal with a twist of melodic hardrock. Much of the melodic hardrock touches depends on Magnus involvement, he contributes with high energy guitar playng like only he can do and this is one of the more harder albums released from this label. I can guess that Magnus has written the main part of the 12 songs on ESCAPE INTO THE SUN and it sound and feels like Magnus has worked much harder on this material compared to his mediocre efforts on his last project the album with Allen/Lande which was a huge disappointment for me. The only minor thing regarding the material on this album is that there are too many songs, they could easily have been narrowed down because a few of them feel pretty unnecessary
O’Hara has done all the vocals and Magnus all the instruments so it seems like this is a low budget recording and as far as I know Magnus can’t play the drums so in that case they have used programmed drum machine and that doesn’t exist in my world of metal I’m allergic to it. O’Hara has a very powerful and varied voice and he does a totally OK effort on the album and his voice also fits Magnus material in a brilliant way. What can be said about the guitar playing by Magnus then, well I said it before but I’ll say it again, he has the ability and skills to become the Yngwie Malmsteen of the 21st century. He’s an extremely skilled guitarist that can play in any way possible and he never ceases to amaze wherever he straps on his guitar. It’s an OK solo album Tony O’Hara delivers but Magnus Karlsson upgrades the rating with at least one point.