|Musical Style: Progressive Hard Rock||Produced By: Delorean|
|Record Label: Independent||Country Of Origin: USA|
|Year Released: 2004||Artist Website: Delorean|
|Tracks: 10||Rating: 80%|
|Running Time: 50:03|
A car named after a band? Who would have ever thought... Seriously, I cannot help but think the members of Delorean must have been watching Back To The Future when deciding upon a name. Coming out of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, Delorean takes a foundation of progressive rock and combines it with elements of classic hard rock and metal on its independently released full length debut Dauntless. The strength of the project resides in the bands catchy and melodic based songwriting, the albums stronger material easily inviting a comparison to the likes of Shadow Gallery, Destra, Threshold and Theocracy. At the same time, one cannot help but be impressed with the confidence Delorean displays in its instrumental sound, the band cutting loose with several sweeping instrumental passages helping to take three of its tracks past seven minutes and three others past five. Lead guitarist Dan Cummins can flat out play and proves more than a match for contemporaries like John Berry (Jacobs Dream), Pete Southern (Balance Of Power) and Eduardo Parronchi (Destra). Johnathon Stone rounds out the mix on rhythm guitar in addition to contributing the majority of the albums well thought out lyrics. Bassist Jeremy Clark and drummer Adam Satterwhite form a tight and solid rhythm section. Ruth Ball puts in a very fine performance on lead vocals with her crystal clear sounding voice.
When taking into consideration that Dauntless is an independently released project recorded on a limited budget, its production values are quite laudable. On the other hand, an all around thinness characterizes the albums sonics that would be remedied by a certain amount of polish. An element of muddiness exists in the low end that prevents the bass from standing out in the mix. While the rhythm guitar could have come across with a bit more edge and crispness, the lead guitar cleanly rises above the instrumentation.
After instrumental album opener "Acropolis" gradually fades in to keyboards over its first minute, the rhythm guitar carries the song over its last half.
The acoustic guitar at the start of "Inferno" gives way to an anthemic riff that pushes it forward at an upbeat tempo, the acoustic guitar briefly returning just before the song reaches a catchy rhythm guitar driven chorus. Cummins displays his abilities on lead guitar throughout a two minute long instrumental passage. "Inferno" talks about how easy it is to feel overwhelmed in the frenzied pace of day to day life:
Time and time again I feel I'm running one step behind
Falling through I wake up to renewal of the crime
Searching for the answers to this maddening sort of way
Chasing you I succumb to the fever here to stay
The introduction to "Onward" fades in to a bit of guitar feedback that transitions to a minute of catchy rhythm guitar harmony. After "Onward" slows as an acoustic guitar carries its first verse, the rhythm guitar returns as the song picks up in pace and approaches a strong melodic flavored chorus. Delorean again exhibits the strength of its musicianship during another two minute long instrumental section. "Onward" is about overcoming problems in life and standing against the tides that turn against you:
Onward through the darkness to the garden of unknown
Laced with great adversity, broken-hearted and alone...
But now there is no turning back, no conclusion to the dream
This heart inside will always fight, no matter how things may seem
The brief (:41) instrumental "Exordium" is propelled its entirety by an acoustic guitar blended with a bit of guitar feedback.
The seven minute "Without Wings" advances at a slower more mid-tempo pace in giving prominence to an emotional blues flavored feel. The acoustic guitar opening the song drives its first verse as guitar feedback fades in and out of the mix. Once "Without Wings" gains momentum, the rhythm section impels it forward until the rhythm guitar backs a catchy hook filled chorus. Cummins showcases his talent during the songs three different instrumental passages. "Without Wings" is about how difficult it can be to explain the sudden and tragic death of a loved one:
If leaving is forever
Remembering is half as long
Still the scars inside will linger
Though you're home where you belong...
For those who served on earth
As human as you and I
Shall mount on wings as eagles
And soar into the sky
A piano underscores "Of Life And Love", the albums slowest track, from front to back. Keyboards accent its first verse and rhythm guitar the second until a combination of piano and slowly moving rhythm guitar harmony carries the song over its last minute and a half. "Of Life And Love" talks about a broken relationship:
Caught between hope and hopelessness
Numb to the thought of what used to be
The ghosts and memories are haunting
Reminders of the things that meant the most to me
The superlative progressive hard rock of "Intrepid" is by far the albums strongest composition. Beginning to a bit of guitar feedback, a catchy riff propels "Intrepid" over its first minute and a half before it slows to an acoustic guitar upon reaching its first verse. The rhythm guitar returns to the forefront of the mix at the start of the second and leads the way to an infectious chorus driven in an emotionally charged manner. Another two minute instrumental passage highlights the talents of the guitar team of Cummins and Stone.
"Love's Illusion" is the only track on the album to not quite make the grade. Commencing to several seconds of slowly moving rhythm guitar, an acoustic guitar props up the songs first verse before the rhythm guitar returns to support a chorus that does not quite stand out in the same manner as the albums more noteworthy material. "Love's Illusion" also talks about a broken relationship:
I'm gonna love you forever
T'ill the sun goes down on this life of mine
And I don't want to hear you say never
If the will is strong, the heart will find a way
The albums title track is a very well done instrumental progressing from front to back to an anthemic combination of rhythm guitar and drums. Following a fiery guitar solo, the song slows to a blend of acoustic guitar and bass before it moves forward to several seconds of catchy rhythm guitar harmony. A heavy duty guitar riff closes "Dauntless" out.
"Denouement" takes off in an upbeat manner to a minute of fast paced rhythm guitar harmony that transitions to a blistering guitar solo and a few seconds of bluesy lead guitar. After an acoustic guitar underlines "Denouement" at the start of its first verse, the rhythm guitar takes the song through its second and to a catchy chorus talking about making a change for the better in life:
And I'll stand on my own two feet
I am not who I used to be
Slowly changing, regenerating
And I will be whole again
Cummins' slowly played lead guitar work perfectly complements the songs mood and feel.
If I happened to be a record company executive I would sign Delorean immediately. Why? Because of the incredible amount of depth and maturity reflected in the bands songwriting. With "Love's Illusion" being the possible exception, all of the albums compositions stand out with catchy choruses and noteworthy melodies. And when further considering the strength of its musicianship and confidence displayed in its instrumental sound, I see nothing but good things in the future from this talented young band. The only constructive comment worth adding would be to encourage the members of Delorean to develope an image more in line with the style of music they are playing.
Review by: Andrew Rockwell
Track Listing: "Acropolis" (2:16), "Inferno" (5:30), "Onward" (6:11), "Exordium" (:47), "Without Wings" (7:00), "Of Life And Love" (3:59), "Intrepid" (7:48), "Love’s Illusion" (5:38), "Dauntless" (3:20), "Denouement" (7:30)
Ruth Ball – Lead Vocals
Dan Cummins – Guitars
Johnathon Stone – Guitars
Jeremy Clark – Bass
Adam Satterwhite - Drums