Greg X - Dream (2011)
2011 has been a strong year when it comes to AOR and melodic rock music, and the list of 80’s inspired releases in said genres just keep piling up. But let’s face it: even though many of today’s releases may be good and enjoyable in their own right, there’s only a handful that really succeed in the difficult task of capturing the sound and feel of the 80’s. Greg X’s “Dream” is an exception, and if you like melodic rock with big guitars, swirling keys and strong vocals, then you can do worse than checking this album out.
Who is Greg X, I hear you ask. Well, Greg X is a polish-born guitarist residing in London, England, a well known guitar instructor and columnist for websites such as Ultimate Guitar. “Dream” is his debut CD and features the vocal talents of Ken Tamplin (Shout, Joshua, Magdallan) while Jay Schellen (Unruly
Child, Hurricane) handles the drums.
Even though Tamplin is almost exclusively known for his work in the CCM hard rock field, “Dream” is not a christian release - although I suppose the uplifting and positive lyrics featured here can be interpreted in many ways. Featuring 8 songs and clocking in at a mere 38 minutes, “Dream” is a short but enjoyable melodic (hard) rock album in the tradition of 80’s Whitesnake, House of Lords, Giuffria and similar acts. Fans of Ken Tamplin’s previous bands will also find much to like here.
Positive aspects aside, the album could have done with a real killer track or two, as even though good and consistent all the way through, the material never quite reach the standards of it's influences. The closest come "Wake Me (Before You Go)", an impressive melodic rock workout with great verses, a sublime hooky chorus and some really tasty soloing from Greg. One listen to this song and you'd swear you were back in 1988 again! The ballad "How To Love" is a well-done tribute to 80's Def Leppard and Whitesnake - a good song in it's own right, although a little on the repetitive side, clocking in at over 6 minutes.
For granted, Tamplin's amazing vocals does lift the songs to a higher level. Clearly a one-of-a-kind talent, this guy could stand shoulder to shoulder with the big names on any given day. Not to take anything away from Greg X, a skilled guitarist and musician for sure. All in all, "Dream" is an enjoyable enough debut that comes recommended for any rocker with their heart and soul planted in the 80's.
Bob Wheeler - s/t
Fury - s/t