Frontiers Records
Release date: April 21, 2006

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

Survivor put out a few very popular Melodic Rock albums in the 1980s, which produced some memorable songs: everyone knows about “Eye Of The Tiger” (made famous by the movie Rocky III), but there were other ones, like “The Search Is Over,” “Burning Heart,” and “High On You.” These songs still get played on Classic Rock stations today.

After 1988’s Too Hot Too Sleep, Survivor broke up and outside of a couple of “hits” albums, solo projects, and two versions of the band (a long story for another time) going around confusing everyone, not much has been heard from the fivesome.

But everyone loves a comeback, and with Sylvester Stallone working on another Rocky movie, what better time for Survivor to rise from the ashes with a new studio album? Reach is that record, and it features three long-time Survivor members: Jimi Jamison on vocals, guitarist Frankie Sullivan, and Marc Droubay on drums. New to the band are Chris Grove (guitars and keyboards) and Barry Dunaway (bass).

So, after all these years, does Survivor still have it? Or should they have stuck to playing their hits for their large contingent of established fans instead of making new music? Lots of bands have made careers out of doing this very thing.

Reach sounds a lot like vintage Survivor, which will please the fans. They certainly haven’t lost anything, and this album won’t tarnish their reputation. It may be a bit too mellow and laid back for those who liked Survivor’s harder-edged material though; none of Reach‘s dozen songs “rock out” like some of the older Survivor stuff did. “Eye Of The Tiger?” You won’t find anything close to it on this album.

Musically, Reach is polished, melodic, catchy, radio-friendly, and familiar; Survivor wasn’t trying to re-invent the wheel with this album. Jamison is still one of the best Melodic Rock singers around, even after all these years; time hasn’t ravaged his voice. He handles the “rockier” songs with ease, and the slick ballads (of which Reach has a handful) are, of course, no problem for this guy; he shines on “One More Chance” and “Half Of My Heart,” two of Reach‘s better, slower songs.

A couple of tunes (“Nevertheless” and “Talking About Love”) feature Frankie Sullivan on vocals, and while he’s a better guitarist than a singer, he acquits himself decently as a vocalist, giving these tracks a bit of grit and energy. Interestingly, these two tracks are among the more rocking ones on the album. When he’s not singing, Sullivan provides some good melodic guitar work on Reach.

Many bands come back when they shouldn’t, often ruining any goodwill they may have built up over the years. Reach shows Survivor to be a band that didn’t want to just cash in on their name, but a band that wanted to make some good music. Diehard Survivor fans will snap this album up, even though it’s definitely milder than what the band has released in the past. Still, it’s a welcome revival just the same.


  • 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.

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