Released: 2004, Frontiers Records/Atenzia Records
Reviewer: Anders Sandvall
To start, here's some background info about the Bulgarian guitar virtuoso/producer and song writer Nikolo Kotzev, the leader of Brazen Abbot. Nikolo now lives in Finland, but before that he was a member of the band Baltimore. The first Brazen Abbot album LIVE AND LEARN came '95 and featured three singers: Göran Edman, Glenn Hughes and Thomas Vikström. The band consisted of two Europe members: Ian (drums) and Mic (keyboard) in addition to Svante on bass. The album became a huge success and was followed by EYE OF THE STORM in '96, then there was changes in the line up. The bass was taken over by John Levén (Europe) and Glenn Hughes was replaced by Joe Lynn Turner. Nikolo has had extensive experience and has worked with many well known names. For more background information feel free to visit his site at http://home.aland.net/brazen.abbot
Now...onto the review of A DECADE OF BRAZEN ABBOT. Unfortunately, I have never heard Brazen Abbot before, only by name, but this album should be, as the title says, a look back on what the band has done through these last ten years, and because of that I have to review this album as a live album and the album quality as I never heard the songs before. There are 13 tracks included on here, along with a longer drum and keyboard solo. The studio song "LOVE IS ON OUR SIDE" is added as bonus track. This has Joe Lynn Turner on lead vocals and the crowd seems to be incredibly into the band with sing along on parts of the songs...without Joe having to ask them to join in. It sounds like Brazen Abbot are very big in his home-country. Nikolo and Joe share the talking between the songs, it all feels a bit like what Yngwie Malmsteen used to do at his shows. It sounds like Joe is a bit tired in his voice though, not much, but a little bit. The studio song “LOVE IS ON OUR SIDE” is an acoustic ballad with Joe singing brilliantly, otherwise nothing much happens.
The music is 70’s hard rock with some progressive parts mixed with a few ballads. The similarities with Mr. Malmsteen appear again when I realize that Nikolo takes on a big part of the songs with his guitar together with Joe’s voice. The other members in the band feel more like studio musicians than members. The band has a brilliant guitarist in Nikolo and also a really skilled vocalist in Joe who both impress. If you like Mr. Kotzev or Mr. Turner from before, you ought to check out this live album. The negative things are the very boring drum and keyboard solo and the not so appealing cover.
There is a live DVD available for this, but on that the songs are in a different order. I also think that the solo parts works better on a DVD where you can see what happens. On the DVD there’s also songs from one of the bands that Joe has been in - Rainbow.