And again, another nearly band. How did Hybrid Ice
manage to avoid fame and fortune?
The self titled debut from 1982 has been remastered along with the follow up, 'No Rules
', from 1988 and both have been reissued by the band.
The debut is probably most famous for the song, 'Magdalene'
, picked up by Tom Scholz for Boston's fourth release, 'Walk On'. But let me say this, the Boston version doesn't come near Hybrid Ice
The original is an AOR
/ progressive / pomp rock gem, blending various rock elements into one powerful, hard hitting, memorably melodic, multi harmony hookfest.
The band started life covering Genesis, Boston, Styx
and Foreigner. And on several tracks, like 'Please Tell Mary Ann'
and 'Castle Walls',
you can tell. Good lesson here, If you're gonna be influenced, be influenced by the best.
Vocals were provided by all five band members, so on most of the material here, particularly 'On We Go'
(very Yes) and 'Heart Of The Night'
the harmonies swoop and soar, defying gravity, playing a game of bounce with the pomprock keyboards.
If not quite seminal, with two bonus tracks, a timeless sound and a good quality original recording, this debut is a memorable contribution to the prog pomp genre.
Those two bonus tracks - 'The Looking Glass'
and 'Test Of Wills'
are effectively two "new" recordings, both from 1998, and such is their calibre that respectively they open and close this reissue.
Critical consensus on 1988's 'No Rules'
was "good, but not as good as the debut".
I beg to differ.
In the four preceding years, the band had truly absorbed pomp rock into their collective psyche. It emerged, fully formed, shiny and sharp, with a strong, unpretentious sense of grandeur, on this marvellous follow up.'Fallen Angel's
high stepping keyboards, 'Scars On My Heart's
dramatic guitar punch and in both cases, pristine, full blown harmonies all combine to deliver pomp rock to die for.'Never Coming Back'
and 'Fool Me Twice'
accentuate this purity of sound, uncontaminated by the gathering rock'n'roll storm that was to engulf the music business only three years later.'Secret Dreams'
, written by Jon Bon Jovi
and Richie Sambora seems overly cluttered compared to sleek, purring tracks like 'The Night Is Still Young'
and 'I Won't Be Faraway',
written by the band. Even the titles have that flavour of youthful romanticism that was endemic to the genre.
Either way, you can't go wrong with the first or the second releases. Both have plenty to offer, equally to the casual fan as the aficionado. Ratings:
Debut : 8/10
NR : 8.5/10
Written by Brian
Wednesday, March 31, 2010Show all reviews by BrianRatingsBrian: 666/10
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