|Driver - 'Countdown' (Metal Heaven)|
|Written by Ian Bell|
|Thursday, 09 August 2012 05:00|
Once upon a time there was a so-called supergroup under the banner of M.A.R.S. The line up included drummer Tommy Aldridge (Gary Moore, Ozzy Osbourne, Whitesnake, Black Oak Arkansas, Pat Travers), guitarist Tony MacAlpine (solo, Steve Vai), bassist Rudy Sarzo (Quiet Riot, Ozzy Osbourne, Whitesnake) and vocalist Rob Rock (Impellitteri, Joshua, Avantasia, Axel Rudi Pell). M.A.R.S. released the album 'Project Driver' which, to be kind, made absolutely no mark on the musical landscape and as the big players moved on to seek bigger pay cheques the self proclaimed voice of melodic metal Rob Rock continued the theme and formed Driver, releasing a cult cassette EP in 1990.
Driver reformed and released the debut album 'Sons of Thunder' in 2008 which was a mix of new songs and re-recorded tracks from the EP. The current Driver membership includes guitarist/producer Roy Z (Bruce Dickinson, Rob Halford, Tribe of Gypsies), drummer Reynold 'Butch' Carlson (Jag Panzer, Tribe After Tribe), keyboardist Ed Roth (Glenn Hughes, Ronnie Montrose) and bass player Aaron Samson (George Lynch, John 5). There is no surprise looking at the wealth of experience within the ranks and the source of the experience that this is an album well and truly stuck somewhere back in time, and in the main the 1980s, the era of general evilness, of dungeon and dragons, and not forgetting the big cheesy power ballads.
'Countdown' generally plods along and with all the experience in the playing it lacks freshness, although Roy Z demonstrates why he has the reputation par excellence in all things melodic metal with some fine melody and guitar solos running through the songs. As you would expect there are big choruses, as demonstrated in 'Hollywood Shooting Star', there are power ballads such as 'Always On My Mind' and 'Destiny' complete with clichéd and forgettable lyrics. There are one or two tracks that break the pace such as 'Feel The Fire' but not enough. The production responsibilities of Roy Z complete the hark back to the so called glory days of early '80s metal.
Having listened to this release in its entirety from beginning to end on a few occasions for the purpose of these notes I am relieved that I won't have to again, there is just nothing great about this. To hark back to the '80s is fine, but remember along with the amazing bands from that era still doing great business and delivering the goods today, there were even more that were far from great including some that could sell truck loads of vinyl on the back of a power ballad and a bandana.
Some people just need to accept that it's 2012 and the '80s are long gone, just get over it.
To pick up your copy of 'Countdown' - CLICK HERE