JOHN WEST – Earth Maker

JOHN WEST - Earth Maker


Release date: September 18, 2002

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West-boy has for a long time been a favorite here at Metal Express Radio. Normally highly praised every time Danish rockers Royal Hunt releases a new album (and they do pretty often, as they always fail to do a lengthy tour), the Cortland, NY native John now presents his third solo effort. Not do I know what they put in the water in Cortland after the second world war, but as some of you might know, Ronnie James Dio comes from the same little city. In terms of quality, John and Ronnie both are kings of their genre; our man here in a more Neo-Classical way, the latter more traditional Hard Rock style.

If you’re familiar with John’s two previous releases, you will quickly notice that Earth Maker is a progression in a more mainstream (not in a negative way) direction. While you still can hear that Neo-Classical touch (by the way; a certain Russian keyboard player guests the album), more songs are pure Heavy Metal. I can better describe it this way; all the guest musicians have been allowed to set rather visible footprints on Earth Maker. Chris Caffery from Savatage does a great job, and a couple of the tracks indeed have a Savatage feel. (That’s pretty funny if you know who was the intended runner up when Zak Stevens decided to stop dealing with their office.) Not only one Russian keyboard magician shows up, but also the other mad Russian John works with is a part of this. Though having both Vitalij Kuprij and Andre Andersen, or Kevin Chown on bass for that matter, on board might not make the album more a solo project… What the heck, super extraordinaire drummer Bobby Jarzombek and Metal Mike from Halford are also Earth Makers, and I suspect Mike to bring in the modern sounding tuned-down guitars, that I really don’t think fits John’s voice very much.

Ok, I once said that John can sing everything and anything, so maybe it’s more the tuned-down Fight/Pantera-sounding guitars I have a small problem with. “Life” is a “Nailed To The Gun”-rip off, I am sorry to say. What I on the other hand don’t have any problems with, are amazing songs like “Stand, Sentinel” (a good one for the Soaptage fans), the opener “Soul Of The Beast”, the title track and the nice ballad that ends it all, “Soul To Soul”. John is indeed one the best singers around, him and Caffery make a good songwriting team, how about Jon Oliva producing the next disc???


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