• 6.5/10
    GARY JOHN BARDEN - Love & War - 6.5/10


Escape Music
Release date: October 22, 2007

User Review
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Through an almost 30-year long career, Gary John Barden has participated in projects with a bunch of phenomenal artists such as Gary Moore and Michael Schenker Group. He’s definitely not an unknown name in music and has through the years been privileged to release an increasing number of solo albums. Recently, the new record entitled Love & War was released, being the fourth solo effort credited to Gary John Barden.

“Creatures Of The Night” is the stellar highlight of this record and with the massive guitar riffs, it opens up the record. Gary’s voice doesn’t actually impress you; he sounds emaciated and tired. Sometimes when he pushes his voice too far up in the register, it sounds terrible. Apart from some vocal parts, this song is fantastic, powerful riffs, steady drumming, and a great sing-a-long chorus. It should also be mentioned that the guitar solo is fantastic. This song is actually a good enough reason to check out this record.

This one is followed by another great song, entitled “Unchain Me,” which features some very cool riffs. It’s quite a shame that the sound of the rhythm guitar sounds too “dry.” The keyboards play an important role in this song; it’s a very delightful listen. “Unchain Me” features a great sing-a-long chorus as well and would have no problem in becoming the favorite of the audience.

The record is interesting through the first three songs, but then it starts to go nowhere. There are so many great guitar riffs and every song has the punch any Melodic Rock record would like to feature. Unfortunately, the production wrecks all this. Gary also seems to be stuck on “Alzheimer-Avenue” when it comes to songwriting. Many of the tunes sound similar to each other in the way that makes the record boring after a while.

Producer Michael Voss is familiar to the Melodic Rock fan. Unfortunately, his work on this record is not outstanding. It reminds you a little of the 2007 release from Paul Sabu named Strange Messiah, which Voss also produced. He had a little more luck with this one, but should not be praised for it. It sounds more like a well-produced demo tape sometimes.

Love & War has potential, but could have been so much more if the production was a far cry better!


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