Released: 2013, Perris records
I have been impressed from the music I have heard from Spain recently. I thought 77’s 2012 album HIGH DECIBELS was the best album AC/DC never wrote, and now comes along AOR/melodic metal masters, Hardreams. UNBROKEN PROMISES is certainly an overlooked gem of the genre, and while the band formed in 2000 and have released three full-length albums prior to this, I had never heard of them. No matter, the important thing is that I have discovered them now, and I am enjoying what I am hearing.
First of all, the 80s never ended for Hardreams. Combine Magnum, Hardline, and Survivor with Tyketto and Whitesnake and you have the band’s sound in a nutshell, from the clichéd keyboards of the era to the melodic and sing along choruses. Manu Esteve embodies the finest vocal qualities of this genre, resembling a less nasal Johnny Gieoli on most of the tunes. The guitars are so smooth that it is easy to overlook the edgier and heavier numbers. “The War Is Over” reveals a seamless marriage of heavier hair metal with AOR, a definite nod to the strengths of Hardline and Whitesnake. “It’s Only Love” is the quintessential throw back track, a song that could have easily vied for a high chart position back in the heyday of 80s AOR. Heavier tunes would include “A Mountain To Climb” and the riff centric “Cross The Line” while album closer “All And Now” leans a little too close to Journey for comfort.
Production is up to the standards of this style, being very glossy and up front. While there certainly is nothing original about UNBROKEN PROMISES, the band likely makes no apologies for it. Gifted with the ability to write melodic and catchy songs and the knack for executing the style as intended, this is a welcome offering to the nostalgia cravers or fans that simply love and never grew tired of this style of music. Personally, I have to mix this with doses of heavier fare, because the sugary content of the thing at times becomes cloying. However, in the right proportions and with the right frame of mind or beverage, UNBROKEN PROMISES is fun nostalgia ride that you can sneak in for a guilty pleasure once and awhile.