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Κυριακή, 19 Ιουνίου 2011

Review: Alkana - Welcome To My Paradie (Baby Bird Records - 1978)


"Welcome To My Paradise" is the debut -and the only- release by the Progressive Hard Rock band Alkana from San Bernardino, CA. Seven guitar driven tracks are included in the album and they are pretty enough for someone to realize the band's inspiration and high musical status. Guided by the musical spirit of Mr Danney Alkana that offers the real big trademark on the album both with his compositions and his unique guitar playing style, Alkana created a magnificent album. There are times when the band is focused into a real catchy Hard Rock style -like on the opening "California Rock 'n' Roll Queen" track or on the the third "On Our Own" tune. They can even get heavier focusing on solid riffing and excellent lead guitar themes like the ones on "Montezuma's Sweet Revenge" second track of the album and they are comfortable enough to let the first side of their debut to close with a real Hard Rock anthem entitled "Freedom Lady".

The opening shining riff of the "California Rock 'n' Roll Queen" would soon give its slot to a main melodic theme before the catchy chorus, before you even realize that you want to listen the main melodic theme again it is right again straight on your speakers, it is not just the guitar melody, that would attract you, it is the crystal clear voice and the sweet vocal melodies of Mr Jack Rucker whose voice is the second big trademark of the whole release. Focusing more into the song you would for sure pay some attention into its great lead guitar parts, you will be able to listen many of those in the while album. Follower "Montezuma's Sweet Revenge" is one of the Heavier tracks of the record presenting some real solid and heavy riffing, an out of this world vocal performance by Jack and some more marvelous lead guitar parts. The fast and catchy "On Our Own" that follows is fast song enforced with glorious guitars, turn the volume louder to enjoy it and get ready for the first real musical shock of this album which is no other than the closing track of the album's first side entitled "Freedom Lady". It may sound funny to you but when I first heard this tuned I thought "god damned they do not make them like this today". Well here we got a magical song carrying all the magical Hard Rock shinning of the 70s. From where I can start? From the double guitar attack of the first-intro part of the song? From its main fucking heavy riff? From the angelic vocal melody on this very same part?... I do not know what to write... The chorus of the song is another musical explosion before the brilliant guitar solo. The song would end on a great crescendo and this is the end of the first side of the record.

On the second side of the album the band would present three more compositions. In many parts of them Alkana are approaching a more Progressive still guitar driven Hard Rock style, the first example is the "Paradise" song that opens the second side. On follower "The Tower" the band will reach to the top of performance and inspiration, while they keep a loud Hard Rocking tune called "Head Games".

"Paradise" is the second side's opener. Listen to its complex and mysterious guitar themes, to the excellent rhythm section -great bass and drumming- and to the song's full of agony great chorus and you would understand my point. Kudos to the lead parts in here as well.

What follows is the album's best song and one of the best Rock songs I personally have listened. I am referring to "The Tower", an Epic, lyrical, romantic, Hard and Heavy anthem enforced by baroque and neoclassical touches on guitar, real powerful Hard Rock riffs, outstanding and melodic lead guitar parts by Danney Alkana and a Jack Rucker that gives one of his best vocal performances. My words are really poor to describe... You got to listen to the melodic interlude and the musically narrative first part of the song and the beautiful piano melodies that fills it, you got to listen to the trippy small guitar bridge that drives to the first strong breaking which is the main explosive riff of the second part, you got to listen the magnificent leads and of course the voice. This is a REAL ANTHEM.

Final "Head Games" song got some really guitar themes. A powerful song that closes the record in an explosive way. The band have saved some excellent riffing and some cool lead guitar parts -that reminded me somehow a little of the Deep Purple style :)- for the bombastic final song of the album.

The production is fantastic and does total justice t the song. We can hear such producitons on the big arena Hard Rock bands on that time and believe me that Alkana had all the talent and strength to be such a band, they were in the correct way but sometimes things are not coming the way they are planned. After Alkana split mainman, guitarist and composer Danney Alkana continues his musical journey with Excalibur and other projects and the singer Jack Rucker went on to sing on probably the best record recorded in the Metal history, the "Deliver Us" mini LP by Warlord from Los Angeles, CA.

Make yourself a favor and listen to the "Welcome To My Paradise" masterpiece, there will be a Rock Paradise straight open for you.











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