TONY O’HORA – Escape Into The Sun


Frontiers Records
Release Date: January 27, 2006

User Review
2/10 (1 vote)

Vocalist/Musician Tony O’Hara’s history includes providing vocals for two albums with the group Praying Mantis and working in bands such as Sweet and Statetrooper. If enough ears get the opportunity to hear his new solo project, entitled Escape Into The Sun, then all that history might be surpassed by this new, outstanding effort.

The packaging on this one says “Tony O’Hora,” but it might as well say “O’Hora/Karlsson” (as in guitarist Magnus Karlsson of Last Tribe, Starbreaker, and Allen/Lande fame). The basis for this statement becomes quite clear as you scroll down to the bottom of this review and see that it is indeed these two individuals that are single-handedly responsible for this finely-crafted disc. Karlsson must feel he is one of the most blessed guitarists in modern day Hard Rock. Not only is he a gifted musician, but he has also had the fine fortune of working with several gifted vocalists including Tony Harnell (Starbreaker), Russell Allen, Jorn Lande, and now the exceptional Tony O’Hora.

Karlsson’s involvement in this production is felt from the onset as it sounds suspiciously like a slightly more melodic version of last year’s Starbreaker release (check out our review here). In fact, similarities are such that Starbreaker fans will not be disappointed whatsoever with Escape Into the Sun. For those familiar with Karlsson’s previous works, you’ll often have that … “I’ve heard that melody before” Déjà vu feeling when listening to this O’Hora offering. Putting all analogies aside, this release still stands on it’s own as a solid piece of work for its strong musicianship, vocally and instrumentally, as well as its commendable songwriting.

Highlights abound as Tony O’Hora puts in a vocal performance that almost rivals past Tony Harnell performances, however, O’Hora essentially is a softer and “heavenly” version of Harnell. While Karlsson, on the other hand, contributes a typical top-notch guitar performance, along with playing all the other instruments confidently. The drumming, though, is a little more rhythmically simplistic when compared to other releases in this genre that have a bona fide full time drummer. Nonetheless, the drumming is more than adequate, and doesn’t hold back the overall performance of the CD in the least bit.

The album starts off with “Broken Soul,” which is a melodic, almost symphonic piece; full of emotion and melody. Immediately you’ll fall for O’Hora’s vocal capabilities, as this track’s chorus pulls you in deep … very deep. The title track, “Escape Into The Sun,” is slightly slower in tempo, but is just as moving in delivery as its predecessor. O’Hora’s multi-tracked choruses throughout are, simply put, outstanding. “High Enough” actually shows O’Hora’s upper range and ability to hold a note as he pulls off a very convincing “scream” before Karlsson’s lead. The remainder of the release continues in the same fine fashion with one quality track after another, and closes on a high note with the upbeat and driving “Black Wings” and “Start All Over.”

Bottom line, this release is an early candidate for one of the best Melodic Rock releases for this premature 2006 year. The release showcases one of Hard Rock’s premier vocalists and musicians in O’Hora and Karlsson, respectively. Starbreaker fans, who can digest a slightly lighter and richer sounding version of Starbreaker, will be enthusiastically pleased with this buy. All others will be treated to an auditory, Melodic Hard Rock feast. Hopefully O’Hora and Karlsson continue to work together in the future. As it stands, if this duo were armed with a full-time bass player and drummer, they might be able to make a serious run at the “mighty” TNT!


Tony O’Hora – All Vocals
Magnus Karlsson – All Instruments, Production


  • 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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