Frontiers Records
Release date: November 10, 2003

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

Italian rock singer Chris Catena has for years been exploring different branches of rock. With Freak Out! he has brought together several rock genres such as hard rock, funk, soul, metal and more.

However, this is not all he has brought together for his album. Catena has gathered an impressing amount of well-known musicians who have made a great impact on different periods of the last thirty years of rock music. To mention a few: Glenn Hughes (Deep Purple + +), Bernie Marsden, Mickey Moody, Tommy Aldridge (Whitesnake + +), Bruce Kulick, Eric Singer (Kiss + +) in addition to several people picked from camps like Living Colour, Prince, Stevie Wonder, Genesis, Zappa, Malmsteen, Uriah Heep, Alice Cooper, Y&T and many, many more! I really don’t know how this guy has succeeded in getting all these famous musicians along with him on this record, but Mr. Catena certainly has to be a charming and persuading guy.

The album, unfortunately, is less convincing. The problem is, when you are using thirty different people to record fifteen tracks you don’t get much of a band feeling. The whole thing is sure well played, and the potential in the songs on Catena’s self produced album is big, but Freak Out! fails to establish any kind of …personality.

Another problem is that Chris Catena is such a big fan of Glenn Hughes that he has adopted many of Hughes’ many ways of singing. Being able to even sound a bit like Glenn “The Voice Of Rock” Hughes is a vast compliment, but this time around it sounds a bit weird. The similarities get too strange, especially since Hughes contribution on the album is singing a duet with Catena…

Catena doesn’t hide his influences at all. One thing is his guest list, but he has even covered “Sweet Talker” from Whitesnake’s Ready An’ Willing album (1980) and “Getting’ Tighter” from Deep Purple’s Come Taste The Band (1975). Both very good choices when first decided to do old Whitesnake and Purple songs. Cool versions.

Freak Out! is full of guitars, keyboard, drums and high pitched vocals, and the album brings your mind to several directions. From time to time it sounds like Stryper (Against The Law), sometimes like Hughes-Turner-Project, sometimes like Rainbow’s Graham Bonnet-period, as well as the album gives you associations to Ritchie Kotzen, David Coverdale’s solo-recordings, and even Queensrÿche.

There are fillers on this five-six songs too long album, but there are enough tracks that stand out to make a listen very worthwhile. “Desire” is a groovy though strange track. “Follow Me” and “Lady Starlight” convey tons of traditions and put you immediately in good mood, “What You Gonna Do” is intense, cool and funky and the aforementioned cover songs are great. These tracks do enough for me to make me want to check out whatever Chris Catena releases in the future.


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