ALIEN – Dark Eyes

ALIEN - Dark Eyes


Frontiers Records
Release date: September 22, 2005

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AOR is dead … Long live AOR, or so the obituary reads.

It has been reported that the heady days of the AOR glory years of the mid-80’s are now a distant memory, with top quality releases few and far between and most bands regurgitating past ideas to a fading audience.

But, are things about to change?? Recent releases by Journey and Styx, along with tours by the leading lights of the genre suggest that there is life in the old dog yet.

Now re-entering the scene are Alien. Formed in 1987 by vocalist Jim Jedhed and former E.F. Band guitarist, Tony Borg, the band flickered briefly during the tail end of the 1980s and early 1990s, releasing four studio albums to a varying degree of success, but becoming AOR cult favorites along the way. The band split in 1994 with the only releases since then being a best of and a live album, together with a Jim Jedhed solo release. Fast forward to 2005, and lo and behold … a new Alien album by the title of Dark Eyes. The band reformed following a meeting in 2004, which resparked their interest and lead to the writing of new material, which was to become the current release.

The album kicks off in fine style with the title track, which proudly demonstrates their melodic roots. The song is built around a riff not too far away from “Angel of Death” by Thin Lizzy, and builds into a rousing chorus underpinned by a fine melodic guitar harmony.

Next up is the more understated and less immediate “Don’t Go Away,” which peaks with a cracking solo from Borg. In fact a recurrent feature of this album is the sterling work from Borg, which truly evokes the spirit of the classic AOR era.

“Oh Sarah” follows and is more in the power ballad vein. Again, the track features a memorable hook for the chorus. Surely if this could get some airplay on daytime radio, Alien could find themselves with a hit on their hands.

Probably the biggest asset in Alien’s favor is the vocals of Jedhed. At times sounding like Steve Perry crossed with Joe Lyn Turner, the music really plays to his strengths. The songs are emotive and anthemic, and the major reason for this is due to Jedhed.

At times, the phrasing of Phil Lynott springs to mind. Check out the aforementioned “Dark Eyes,” “Fallen Eagle” (a little like “Out in the Fields”), or “Riding The Wind” (which has hints of “Emerald”) for hints of the old Vagabond himself.

“Wild One” is the album’s balls out rocker, which tears along at a frantic pace; whereas another rocker, “Are You Ready ?” is more of a stadium foot-stomper … both songs will surely hit the mark in the live arena.

Perhaps the highlight of the album is “Don’t Fight It,” an AOR classic in every sense of the word. It has moody vocals, atmospheric keyboards, and a great crescendo leading up to an absolute humdinger of a chorus with a great guitar hook culminating a soaring solo from Borg. This song will lodge itself in your mind for weeks to come and deserves to be considered alongside some of AOR’s finest moments.

Dark Eyes may not be original, it may not be trendy but it’s chock full of great songs, well played and topped off with a quality production that deserves your attention.

Generations by Journey may have been getting all the press this year, but Alien have crept in almost unnoticed on the blind side with what just might be the AOR album of the year.


  • Mick Burgess

    Mick is a reviewer and photographer here at Metal Express Radio, based in the North-East of England. He first fell in love with music after hearing Jeff Wayne's spectacular The War of the Worlds in the cold winter of 1978. Then in the summer of '79 he discovered a copy of Kiss Alive II amongst his sister’s record collection, which literally blew him away! He then quickly found Van Halen I and Rainbow's Down To Earth, and he was well on the way to being rescued from Top 40 radio hell!   Over the ensuing years, he's enjoyed the Classic Rock music of Rush, Blue Oyster Cult, and Deep Purple; the AOR of Journey and Foreigner; the Pomp of Styx and Kansas; the Progressive Metal of Dream Theater, Queensrÿche, and Symphony X; the Goth Metal of Nightwish, Within Temptation, and Epica, and a whole host of other great bands that are too numerous to mention. When he's not listening to music, he watches Sunderland lose more football (soccer) matches than they win, and occasionally, if he has to, he goes to work as a property lawyer.

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