Frontiers Records
Release date: September 19, 2005

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

Philip Bardowell is best known as the last Unruly Child vocalist who released their last album, UCIII, in 2003. Bardowell was also part of a little known band called Magdallen together with former House of Lords members Chuck Wright, Lanny Cordola, and Ken Mary. In The Cut represents Bardowell’s second solo release, and in order to accomplish the task, he’s called in a few friends for pen and musicianship. This CD contains ten tracks total, and interestingly enough, Bardowell only has writing credits on two of the ten tracks. The other tracks represent songs written by heavyweights Stan Bush, Jim Peterik (Pride Of Lions, Survivor), Mark Spiro (House Of Lords, Bad English), Curt Cuomo (Kiss, Steve Perry), and Bobby Barth (Axe), to name a few. The Production and most of the instrumentation is handled by Swedish guitarist Tommy Denander of Radioactive fame, while the drum kit is handled by Daniel Flores (best known for his work with Mind’s Eye).

The release starts off on the right foot with the mid-tempo; guitar-edged title track “In the Cut.” This track is one of the better cuts and surprisingly it’s the only one co-penned by Bardowell and Denander. This is one of those tracks that could have easily have been offered on an Unruly Child release. From here, the CD is kicked down a notch in tempo, with more pure AOR-oriented tracks. “Through My Eyes,” though slower in tempo, does contain some nice lead work from Denander.

Next, the CD ends up heading into a few Stan Bush penned tracks, which are presented with an average AOR flair. Songwriting and Production are solid throughout, but the music is geared to a certain niche market (e.g., US FM Radio) and doesn’t break any new ground. No matter how soulful Bardowell’s singing is, it doesn’t help to take the mediocrity out of the majority of these tracks. The powerhouse of the release is “Never Too Late For Love” with its catchy, multi-tracked, memorable chorus, driven by the emotional impact of Bardowell’s vocals. It’s no surprise that this is the cut Frontiers has been marketing on their Web site. Unfortunately, the release isn’t full of songs of this winning formula and impact.

Tommy Denander does contribute some nice lead guitar work throughout in the situations where the music allows such a thing to happen. It also seems odd to hear Flores drumming such simplistic beats that is typical within this form of music. One wonders if he was actually slightly bored here compared to the drumming he lays down with Mind’s Eye.

Bottom line, this is a pure AOR release with the majority of the tracks following the same generic, safe, AOR formula. Bardowell delivers commendable vocals throughout, but the release is by no means as heavy as an Unruly Child release. The majority of the tracks tend to sway more into territory blazoned by Survivor and John Waite, not that there’s anything wrong with that. It just might be slightly lighter then most Metal Express Radio fans are looking to hear.


Philip Bardowell – Vocals
Tommy Denander – Guitar, Bass, Keyboards, Production
Daniel Flores – Drums


  • Scott Jeslis

    Scott is one of the partners at Metal Express Radio. He handles a lot of Metal Express Radio's public relations, screening of new music and radio scheduling. On occasion, he also does reviews and interviews. He has been a proud member of the Metal Express Radio crew since 2004.

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