Released: 2010, Frontiers Records
Vega is yet another in a long line of hard rock “super groups” that keep popping up from time to time, seemingly with more frequency since the turn of the century (see: W.E.T., Place Vendome, Allen/Lande etc.). Fortunately, most of them are worthwhile efforts as the talents involved are generally strong enough to pull things out of mediocrity. I’m not sure if the guys involved with Vega collectively count as a super group, as the members/contributors to the likes of Kick, House of Lords, and Khymera are quite a ways down the popularity list and are known only to the most ardent hard rockers. Still, I could care less what a band’s background is – it’s all about hearing good music, and Vega has that in abundance.
As a partnership between a vocalist, Nick Workman, and two song writing brothers, Tom and James Martin, Vega is an unqualified success. The second opening song “Into the Wild” kicks into gear, it’s clear that KISS OF LIFE is about two things – powerful vocals and hooks that will sink deep into your brain and never let go. As these types of ultra-melodic albums tend to be, guitar and bass are used to drive the songs forward, but there are always topped by swirling keyboards and crystal clear vocals. Fortunately Workman is easily up to the task of leading the band and one can imagine that if this were the mid-‘80s, he’d be taking the band on stage in front of thousands in huge arenas.
Still, a great voice isn’t worth much if the songs suck, and with Vega, they emphatically do NOT suck. KISS OF LIFE is packed with twelve songs and almost all of them are shining examples of how good melodic hard rock can be; only the pedestrian balladry of “Too Young For Wings” doesn’t measure up. The rest is absolute gold, with highlights being the uplifting title track, the driving “Hearts of Glass”, and the closing “SOS” which is so infectious you can’t help but sing along.
Had I heard this album when it was released in 2010 it would have easily soared into my Top 10 of the year – it’s that good. Anyone who’s even vaguely a fan of melodic hard rock should definitely look this band up.