NIGHT RANGER – Hole In The Sun

NIGHT RANGER - Hole In The Sun
  • 8/10
    NIGHT RANGER - Hole In The Sun - 8/10


Release date: April 24, 2007

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At a point where Pop culture is embracing “all that has been” in what can be described as “The Retro Movement,” fans have been privy to many reuniting bands of yesteryear. Poison and Tesla are hot this year and have new albums out that are also “retro” releases, covering versions of songs that inspired them during their formative years. Night Ranger is breaking a nine-year silence in the music world. Instead of cashing in on the “fad,” they opted to forge ahead with twelve new original tunes.

In the 80s, Night Ranger scored a half dozen top-of-the-chart hits, most notably the Rock ballad “Sister Christian.” You couldn’t turn on your local AOR station or MTV without catching it every hour in 1983. The band was known as much for the guitar prowess of both Brad Gillis (he played with Ozzy following Randy’s death) and Jeff Watson (how does he do that crazy eight-finger thing?) as they were for their catchy song writing and great vocal melodies. There was a period of time where the band spent more time apart than together, and the releases from 1988 until 1995’s Feeding Of The Mojo were mostly greatest hits and live packages.

On their latest release, Hole In The Sun, Night Ranger is back with the same AOR writing formula, playing a mixture of rockers and ballads, and tickling the melody-hungry ears of the masses. The album opens with a Heavy Rock number, “Tell Your Vision,” and continues rocking nonstop through the first four tracks. The beach fun song, “Drama Queen,” and the sure to be a stadium favorite “You’re Gonna’ Hear It From Me” rock in classic Night Ranger fashion, but “Whatever Happened” shows the musical diversity of the band as they demonstrate a flare for Indie-Rock with this catchy number. “There Is Life” is a piano-driven ballad; this time out the keys are being handled by Michael Lardie, who is well-known for his keyboard work with Great White.

The title track of the disc sounds like it could have been a leftover from Jack Blades’ work with Damn Yankees; his multi-platinum venture with Ted Nugent and Tommy Shaw. The song “Rockstar” is a bit reminiscent of some of Blades work with Eric Martin in their team-up on the TMG release. You may be starting to see a pattern here: when he wasn’t writing and performing with Night Ranger, Jack Blades was writing and performing with just about everyone else. His writing credits aren’t limited to his recording works, and his work can be heard in performances by the likes of Aerosmith, Cher, Alice Cooper, and Ozzy Osbourne.

The maturity in the musicianship is evident in every aspect of this disc, with Brad and Jeff each playing well off of each other; they know how to explore the outer limits of a song simultaneously without over-dominating the song. The band has always been good about keeping egos in the back seat and letting the music shine. Jack Blades, besides being a world class vocalist, is a far underrated and often overlooked bassist who does a lot more than just hold down root notes. Kelly Keagy is still singing strong and also doing more on the skins than just keeping a beat.

The logo is still the same as are four of the five members; the songwriting and musicianship doesn’t stray so far that one wouldn’t recognize them. But, if you’re looking for a trip down memory lane, this isn’t the ride for you. This is a band that embraces their art and aren’t anywhere near being finished exploring their creative process. Check back in another twenty-five years and see if Night Ranger is ready to review the past.


  • Jeremy Juliano

    Jeremy was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio. He's been involved with and has been following the Metal scene since the early 1980’s. He started out his Metal journey with heavy doses of Maiden, Accept, and Saxon. And in recent years, he has enjoyed the new age of Metal with bands like Hammerfall, Edguy, and Nightwish, to name a few.

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