Nearly two years ago Eurorock got all excited in a review of HungryHeart, a highly impressive melodic rock band from Italy, and their self titled debut album.
So when their brand new follow up, One Ticket To Paradise, landed on the doormat I was up and eager to hit the play button to see what they had come up with.
The answer is that HungryHeart has fulfilled the prophesy by delivering an album that more than justifies my previous ravings. It took nearly ten years for the band, formed in 1998, to release their debut. It proved well worth the wait.
Clearly, they are now on a roll and with One Ticket To Paradise HungryHeart has served up an album that will have their ever growing fanbase smuggly shrugging their shoulders as if to say, ‘hey we knew all along.’
This is a band who are joyously tapping into the wealth of tradition from the likes of Bon Jovi, Whitesnake, Giant, Journey, and many other classic bands from the 80s and 90s. These are no mere imitators though and this album comes with a tasty hint of, let’s say, The Quireboys, mixed in with plenty of their own character.
Whatever you want you call it, they rock, and can turn out track upon track of solid hard edged melodic rock at its best. They seem to have an endless supply of hooks, as strong as any example from that deeply tapped melodic rock well.
These include the album opener, “Stand Up”, which acts as a real statement of intent, the memorable title track, and an excellent “A Million Miles Away.” This is a band that oozes quality and a real desire and ability to deliver precisely that.
The album is further enhanced by the expert mastering of Michael Voss (Mad Max) and the inclusion of some notable guests. These include the keys of Alessandro Del Vecchio, who has worked with Glenn Hughes, and Eden’s Curse among others, and Nicolo Fragile of Gotthard.
“Angela” delivers a driving punch whilst “Love Is The Right Way” radiates a rich atmosphere that showcases how constructively the band spent their time before finally getting into the studio. When it opens out it provides a real ‘hair standing up on arms’ moment.
This is a veritable hook-fest with a solid hard edged maturity. Its a heady combination of power and precision, pace and passion, that is guaranteed to draw you under its spell. Look no further than “Let’s Keep On Tryin’” a track loaded with characteristic style. It also contains a scorching break from Mario Percudani, whose debut solo album New Day I can’t wait to review here on Eurorock early next week.
HungryHeart can deliver classy ballads too and the memorable “Let Somebody Love You” has a heartfelt quality amid some wonderfully Spike-like moments. Airplay friendly “Just A Little Closer” underlines their ability, whilst a driving “Boulevard Of Love” is guaranteed to add an extra 20 to your speedo.
With any number of tracks demanding to be played on radio, it is actually hard to make a choice of what one to go with. “Get Lost” powers in before delivering yet another hook heavy moment. Michael Jackson’s “Man In The Mirror”, makes an appearance, presumably as a tribute, having been given a HungryHeart twist or two.
The eased down ballad of “You Won’t Be Alone” closes in a way that ensures the album doesn’t allow any dips amid a flat-line of impressive consistency.
Melodic hard rock can sometimes run the risk of sounding stale as it’s a path that so many have been down many times before. To sound timeless, it needs to be alive with well written, and infectiously fresh riffs, and have more hooks than a Peter Pan convention. One Ticket To Paradise is exactly that with the all important passion, and swagger adding the final icing.
It’s a Tardis, and a veritable timewarp from the grand tradition of melodic rock but is one that is done with real commitment to the cause and a genuine offering of self-identity.
But then you fans in Italy already knew that didn’t you?!
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