Release date: November 11, 2005

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

Tommy Denander’s website describes him as “the busiest man in the biz,” and with his name appearing on about 80(!) projects in 2005 alone, there are few people who could disagree with this statement: one wonders when this guitarist/keyboardist/writer/producer finds time to sleep or eat. In the time it took you to finish reading this paragraph, Denander probably recorded another song!

Radioactive is one of Denander’s many side projects, and Taken is the third album from this “supergroup” that specializes in slick, Melodic Hard Rock. In addition to Denander, over 30 musicians are credited with playing or singing on Taken. The talent list is impressive: Bobby Kimball, Gary Barden, Robin Beck, Yngwie Malmsteen, Kelly Keagy, Bruce Kulick, Neal Schon, and Steve Lukather are just a few of the artists who make at least one appearance on this disc. Denander also plays on and wrote or co-wrote all of Taken‘s 13 (14 on the Japanese version) tracks. Busiest man in the biz indeed …

Fans of Melodic Rock will find a lot to like with Taken: the songs are all well-written, well-arranged, and polished to such a high sheen you shouldn’t look at the album without wearing protective eye wear. The playing and singing is professional; given the talent level on display, one would expect no less. Although Taken has a lot of prime talent, no one noodles about or tries to shatter glass with their voice; the songs come first. Even Malmsteen’s solo on “Shattered” is restrained and tasteful, especially by his standards.

With the exception of album opener “C.O.W.” (a short, impressive guitar piece by Denander) and closer “Never Gonna Let Her Go” (a mellow instrumental), nearly all of the songs on Taken are upbeat, hook-filled, melodic rockers that would go down great while you were sitting on the boardwalk watching the pretty girls – or boys – drift by. The title track is very catchy, with a bouncy guitar riff, cool keyboards, a big chorus, a ripping solo (that Denander guy again), and a soulful vocal performance by Bobby Kimball. “Stronger Than Yesterday” is really catchy, with a great upbeat melody and a chorus that will have you humming (or even singing) along on first listen. There’s not a bad song on this entire album, and everyone gets a chance to shine while not sounding like they’re showing off.

What would a Melodic Rock album be without a heart-tugging power ballad to flick your Bic to? Taken‘s is called “This I Promise You,” and if you need a song for the next time you get married, put this on instead of “I Will Always Love You.” The song walks a wind-blown tightrope across Mawkish Canyon, but luckily doesn’t fall in.

If you’re any kind of Melodic Rock fan -– or just someone who appreciates good music -– it’s not hard to be Taken by Radioactive’s latest.


  • Gary McLean

    Gary was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio, based out of the small Ontario, Canada town of Sault Ste. Marie, right on the border of Michigan, USA. When it comes to Metal and Hard Rock, Gary likes quite a few different bands, from stalwarts like Iron Maiden and Judas Priest, to newer, hard-hitting groups such as Primal Fear, Hammerfall, and Paragon. Other favorites include the likes of Nightwish, Running Wild, Therion, Accept, Stratovarius, Dream Evil, Helloween, Rammstein, Dirty Looks, Crimson Glory, Tristania, and Gamma Ray. He thinks AC/DC deserves a paragraph all their own though.

    View all posts

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.