Genre - Hard Rock / Melodic Rock / AOR
Label - Frontiers Records
01. Our Love To Stay
02. Livin’ 4 A Dream
03. I Can Take You There
04. Never Surrender
05. Almost Over You
06. Shadow Of A Man
07. Universal Cry
08. To Be Your Man
09. Down To The Core
10. I Will Find My Way
11. Waiting For Love
12. Not One Way To Give
13. Almost Over You [Acoustic] (Japanese bonus track)
Started initially as a way to bring back to the public the amazing vocal talent of Tommy La Verdi, a singer which came to the attention of the fans on the fabulous 21 GUNS debut album 'Salute' in 1992, the whole project morphed into a power band trio when two other well-known musicians for the genre - guitar player Josh Ramos (The Storm, Hardline) & drummer Michael Shotton (Von Groove) - were brought into the picture by the album producer Alessandro Del Vecchio (Lionville).
The writing sessions were fast and steady with Del Vecchio managing all contributions from the band members and offering a number of his own writings and co-writings to the record, which was anyway able to develop a distinct sound in the Journey / The Storm tradition with hints of '80s Canadian AOR.
A perfect example of this is the opening track "Our Love To Stay" with a main melody that would fit in with any Journey opus in their heyday. It's a perfect to introduce the music of L.R.S. to the listener with a feel-good vibe in it and the chorus line lift you up to heaven.
"Livin 4 A Dream" is a straight out of the box ‘get under your skin’ number, driven by a rocking guitar riff, inspired keyboards and a catchy chorus. La Verdi's pipes are intact and here he shows how powerful can be as performer.
"Almost Over You" is a ballad in the mould of 21 Guns' last albums, somehow reminding me as well Def Leppard going acoustic.
"Never Surrender" has all the opening hallmarks of The Storm's debut, and is a definite summer-ready feel good anthem that AOR fans will lap up in their droves. This is what real rockin' AOR is all about, with swirling synths, harmony vocals galore and pumping rhythm section.
"I Can Take You There" is a sweet mid-tempo, "Shadow Of A Man" includes a Westcoast touch, while title track "Down To The Core" is a great rocker much in the 21 Guns style giving Ramos’ fingers a flexing.
"Waiting For Love" is amongst my favorites from the CD with that kind of '80s pulsating rockin' spirit that would have been a massive radio hit 25 years ago. A highlight.
The ballad "To Be Your Man" is another gem much in the vein of Von Groove which gives La Verdi the opportunity to show how a slow rocker must be sung, and "Not One Way To Give" close the album in a full throttle energy.
The Japanese bonus is an even more acoustic version of "Almost Over You", stripped without the drums and some pianos added.
"Down To The Core" is an impressive album by La Verdi / Ramos/ Shotton, a shining example of today's MR / AOR music inspired by the golden era with soaring vocals from a superb vocalist who comes back into the well deserved spotlight and some exquisite guitar playing from Ramos.
I know some could be a little critical and say that some of the songs are formulaic, too much in the late '80s / early '90s mould. C'mon... these guys invented this style back in a day an we loved it, so we gonna love it again!
And "Down To The Core" delivers the true Melodic Rock / AOR essence in spades, believe me. A CD not to be missed and a highlight for early 2014.
(The above review is not my work and all credit should go to the original author!)
A Great melodic rock album!
Rating - 9/10