Screaming Ferret Wreckords
Release Date: Release Date: May 23, 2005

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

After helping generate some incredible stuff in prior incarnations with Crimson Glory and the lesser known Parish, Ben Jackson is back with his sophomore solo effort entitled All Over You. Recorded in 2003, a couple years after his debut solo release, Here I Come, one first has to wonder what in Hades took so long to actually get this CD out to the public … but rest assured, this very unique Heavy Rock CD is well worth the wait! Compared to the “power trio” line up utilized for his first album, the Group this time around has Ben Jackson on lead guitar and vocals, Mark Borgmeyer also playing guitar, Dano Binz on bass, Rich Tabor bludgeoning the drums, and Rose Sexton providing a refreshing spin to the vocal delivery as a primary backup (more on this below), along with some assistance from Midnight (Crimson Glory).

There are 10 tracks on All Over You, and they all rock! Each song features thick, power chord intensive guitar playing, booming, methodical drumbeats, and driving, deliberate bass lines. The musical approach is definitely the first unique aspect of this album. If you’ve heard the Alice Cooper song “Feed My Frankenstein,” that’s a starting point when describing the sound and direction of the Ben Jackson Group within this release. The song structures appear somewhat simplistic, yet very catchy, and there’s just “something” about the music here that hasn’t been heard before. Perhaps it’s the clear power churned out via the mixing boards in the studio, or maybe the borderline awkward bass tone influenced sound that becomes a true success, or possibly Jackson genius that incorporates original effects along with change-ups like periodic piano usage. Any or all of the above, however, has yielded a “fresh,” heavy, at times brutal, Hard Rock sound that explodes out of your speakers and grabs your attention from the get-go.

The second unique aspect of All Over You is the vocal approach. Jackson alone is a capable singer, but his range (and comfort zone) is very much aligned with the middle of the road … in other words, nothing overly special, but certainly non-offensive. In most of the songs, though, Jackson pairs himself up with Rose Sexton who serves as a primary backing vocalist, often singing along word-for-word, but at few decibels less than Jackson. This technique really adds a well-rounded dimension to the vocals … sort of a baritone and soprano couplet complementing each other perfectly, adding yet another facet to the originality of the Ben Jackson Group sound. Additionally, when Sexton periodically steps aside, Jackson invokes the backing vocal talents of Midnight from the Crimson Glory era, providing yet another twist, and also throws in a few half-demonic, spoken vocal lines, again just a few decibels below his primary vocal lines, which adds a slightly spooky, peyote-trip inner reflection effect to songs such as “Mean Machine,” “Eyes Of Ice,” and “Break It.” Overall, the creative vocal approach within All Over You is nothing short of outstanding.

As mentioned, all of the songs are solid. “Turn It On” is a great opener, and establishes well the direction of the album, with the talents of Rose Sexton shining through, and the musical power provided by the musicians immediately evident. The 2nd track, “Mean Machine,” is arguably the best track on the album, with its raw power and use of that half-demonic spoken voice in part of the song. The title track follows, and shows a slightly more mainstream approach … perhaps Jackson’s attempt at tapping into conventional radio play. “Falling Down” is next and features a rhythmic, seductive drumbeat and bass line … seeming to go hand-in-hand with the provocative “snake charmer” album cover. The 5th track, “Ghost In The Mirror,” includes a change of pace piano intro that provides more of a 1970s Classic Rock feel to the song – a feel that is attention-getting, yet short-lived once “Eyes Of Ice” explodes out of your speakers. The 7th track, “Far And Away,” believe it or not, has a touch of the Rocky Horror Picture Show to it, especially as a result again of Sexton’s background vocals – another true gem. By the 8th song, “Heavy On My Mind,” most of the “tricks” utilized in this song have been done elsewhere … although the track is another good one, this is the first glimpse of redundancy within this album. Luckily, though, “Break It” gets the album back on course – possibly the most aggressive song on the release – and “Rock & Roll Heaven (or bust),” with its tongue-in-cheek chorus, admirably ends the CD.

Overall, Crimson Glory fans and anyone game for Heavy Rock with a bit of meshed-in musical/vocal eclecticism should check out this new Ben Jackson Group release. The songs are by and large heavy and well thought out, and Jackson deserves a helluva lot of credit for concocting such an original musical and vocal approach that comes off as a complete success.

Guitars: B
Bass: B
Percussion: B
Keyboards: C
Vocals: Ben Jackson: C … with Rose Sexton & other backing vocals: A
Lyrics: B-
Recording Quality: A-
Originality: A
Overall Rating: A-


  • Dan Skiba

    Dan is a former partner at Metal Express Radio, and also served as a reviewer, photographer and interviewer on occasions. Based out of Indianapolis, USA he was first turned on to Hard Rock music in the mid-1970s when he purchased Deep Purple's Machine Head as his first album. He was immediately enthralled with the powerful guitar sound and pronounced drumbeat, and had to get more! His collection quickly expanded to include as many of Heavy Rock bands of the time that he could get his hands on, such as Ted Nugent, Judas Priest, and Black Sabbath, to name just a few.

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