|Musical Style: Melodic Metal||Produced By: Joshua Perahia|
|Record Label: Ma & Pa||Country Of Origin: USA|
|Year Released: 2008||Artist Website: Joshua Perahia|
|Tracks: 10||Rating: 85%|
|Running Time: 41:13|
Joshua’s 1985 sophomore release Surrender has quite the interesting history. Recorded in follow up to the groups 1983 Enigma debut The Hand Is Quicker Than The Eye, the album initially came out on Polydor Records and featured the line up of lead vocalist Jeff Fenholt, guitarist Joshua Perahia, guitarist/vocalist Ken Tamplin, keyboardist Patrick Bradley, bassist Loren Robinson and drummer Jo Galletta. Surrender was later re-issued in 1992 by Ocean Records with the bonus track “Show Me The Way” (that included Robyn Kyle Basauri – of Red Sea and Die Happy fame – on lead vocals). Disappointed with the production to the original version of Surrender, founding member Joshua Perahia reworked the re-issue from the ground up: the drums and rhythm guitar ended up being replaced while the backing vocals also had to be re-done. Many of the guitar solos were re-recorded as well. Nine years passed before Surrender was re-issued a second time in 2001, on M&K Sound and with new artwork, and finally again in 2008 (on Ma & Pa Music and also with different artwork).
What we have in Joshua is eighties influenced melodic metal and hard rock. Fans of Stryper, Holy Soldier, Angelica, Shout, Guardian, Whitecross and Bloodgood will find a lot to like here as will those into more recent acts such as Letter 7, Mad Max, Incrave and Eden’s Way. Big hooks are prevalent throughout the project, particularly on the commercial metal of “Surrender”, guitar driven “Rockin’ The World”, radio friendly “Show Me The Way” and “Loveshock” (in which a nice use of backing vocals is made). Balancing out the mid tempo-hard rock of “Heart Full Of Soul” (beautiful guitar harmonies here) and “Your Love Is Gone” (bluesy feel on this one) are up-tempo tracks “Back To The Rock” and “Hold On” (great guitar work on these two).
Jeff Fenholt, as many of you know, was the first actor to play the leading role in Jesus Christ Superstar on Broadway (in addition to a brief “involvement” with Black Sabbath, of which the details are, well, sketchy). Vocally, Fenholt brings a terrific set of pipes, exhibiting the type of abundant range, power, projection and heart that makes the likes of Michael Sweet (Stryper), David Coverdale (Whitesnake), Rob Rock (Impellitter) and Tom Collete (Letter 7) stand out. Just check out his work on “Surrender” (moving feel to his delivery), “Back To The Rock” (showcasing the full range to his voice) and “Heart Of Soul” (reflecting some soulful – almost laid back – moments).
Joshua Perahia, as many of you also know, proves equally able on guitar (Burn! Magazine once declared him the “world’s fastest guitarist”- and rightly so!). It has always been my opinion that Surrender features some of the finest lead work of his career. This is best displayed on the intense soloing found on the albums title track in addition to “Back To The Rock” and “Hold On”, two songs that, for a lack of better words, are all out “shred fests”.
Up-tempo album opener “Surrender” represents one of those tracks that could have been a huge hit if given the right push (it deserves to be heard on classic rock radio to this day). From the big commercial hook in its chorus – “Surrender, surrender love! Surrender, surrender love!” – to Fenholt’s emotionally charged vocal delivery, the song brings all the qualities that make eighties metal stand out. Perahia, of course, steps to the plate with one of his trademark runs of ardent lead guitar. “Surrender” focuses on the issues of faith and love:
Where do we go, lost in the night
Taken by surprise
Holding you close
In hope of a way
Surrounded by the lies
Longing for love
No way to lose
Two can love as one
Out in the cold
Where have I been
Walk before you run
The aptly entitled “Heart Full Of Soul”, with its mid-tempo sensibilities, slows the pace down a bit. The song establishes a gritty hard rock environs, an edgy rhythm guitar shoring up its weighty verse portions and a chorus on the laid back – but poignant – side of things. I enjoy how “Heart Full Of Soul” gains momentum for an instrumental section sustained by a shredding guitar solo.
“Your Love Is Gone” begins to a symphonic touch of keyboards that gives way to a forward mix of rhythm guitar. The song proceeds to amble ahead at a fixed mid-tempo clip, gradually building initiative until culminating for a dignified chorus shored up by adulating backing vocals. As its title implies, “Your Love Is Gone” is a song of lost love:
Alright, this time you worked me over
Cold spite, can this be all that I need
It’s a feeling, and it won’t leave me alone
I keep searching for love, hearts turned to stone
Can’t stop this endless dreaming, should have known
from the start
No way to break your scheming heart
Your love is gone, I see it fading away
Introduced to several seconds of open air guitar, “Stay Alive (Go On Believing)” plows forward in anthem-like fashion only to explode with a plethora of resolve for a chorus in which a predominant setting is put into place. Perahia steps to the plate with more fluidly done lead guitar (adding a nice emotional touch in the process).
Bluesy, driving and moving, “Rockin’ The World” ranks with the albums heaviest – and better – tracks. The song gets underway to a rumbling combination of bass and drums before the rhythm guitar cuts in. Rollicking ahead as a bottom heavy low end continues to make its presence felt, “Rockin’ The World” transitions to a brief but stately chorus of the hook filled variety. A statement of faith is made on this one:
Rockin’ the world is my way of living
Singing for you was always my dream
Making the best of gifts I was given
Give me your hand and you’ll see what I mean
I’m climbing over the rainbow, for a voice that’s calling me
I see a light in the distance
I hear His voice calling me
Don’t be fooled by the world around you
Don’t fall away, He holds the key
The up-tempo melodic metal of “Back To The Rock” proves the perfect vehicle to highlight Perahia’s adept lead guitar skills. From the radiant soloing upholding its instrumental opening to the pull out all the stops lead guitar (with a nice neo-classical touch) sustaining a verdant instrumental section, the song is a shred-fest in the truest sense of the word. Chorus wise, “Back To The Rock” presents a terse – almost to the point – feel that comes across soulful in presentation (Fenholt puts forth quite the powerful performance here). “Back To The Rock” talks about maintaining the faith in times of trouble:
Cold wind blows in the dead of night
Won’t break down gonna make it right
Make my way in the rage beneath the storm
Life was made for love and I want more
Running in the shadows, take my final stand
Back to the rock, back to the rock again…
Speaking of lead guitar, check out the riffing that introduces “Hold On”. The song, for a lack of better words, proves a four minute explosion of continuous energy, roaring through its verse portions and the unwavering chorus that follows. All the while Perahia decorates the scene with his explosive soloing abilities. Impellitteri at its best is the only thing that might invite an accurate comparison here.
“Show Me The Way” draws upon the same commercial sensibilities that make “Surrender” so successful. The song, With Robyn Kyle Basauri on vocals, takes a soulful (almost bluesy) tone while comprising the type of catchy chorus that – if given the opportunity – could have dominated FM radio. Lyrically, “Show Me The Way” reflects the heart of the Psalmist:
A voice that cries in the dead of night, in vain
Fighting a war inside where only the strong survive
Cover me from the thunder and rain
Show me the way too your heart, take me back again
The feeling inside makes me want to fly high
Show me the way to your heart, say a prayer for me
The feeling inside makes me want to fly high
“Loveshock” begins to an instrumental introduction in which a quietly played guitar highlights the backdrop. Kicking into high gear once the rhythm guitar steps forward, the song maneuvers its way in upbeat fashion until obtaining a spirited chorus interwoven with lush vocal harmonies. John 20:1 forms the lyrical basis for “Loveshock”:
Left all alone
Stone cold feelin’ old, where oh where oh where, are you going
Cut off from you
Try to bring You back someday, try to make the
stone roll away
Closing things out is a short (:48) keyboard driven reprise of “Rockin’ The World”.
I would like to summarize with a few “historical tidbits” about Surrender:
1. “Show Me The Way” was not recorded during the Surrender sessions but rather was taken from the demo material Perahia put together with Basauri for his post Intense Defense (Joshua’s third release from 1988) band Jaguar. The next, step, obviously, would be for Perahia to release all the Jaguar tracks he recorded with Basauri.
2. “Loveshock”, in its initial form, had both Ken Tamplin (first verse) and Fenholt (remainder of the song) handling lead vocals. All subsequent re-issues, conversely, replaced the two with Basauri.
3. Joshua, at the time of Surrender, included three future Shout members in its lineup: Ken Tamplin, Loren Robinson & Jo Galletta.
4. The original album artwork featured a black and white band photo on the cover that included Ken Tamplin, who (as far as I can tell) performed on only one song, but not Fenholt (who performed on all nine). I wish I had a decent scan for you.
5. Fenholt supposedly recorded a heavy metal album with Dio guitarist Craig Goldy in the mid-nineties. The album, to the best of my knowledge, has never been released.
Review by: Andrew Rockwell
Track Listing: “Surrender” (4:31), “Heart Full Of Soul” (4:32), “Your Love Is Gone” (4:17), “Stay Alive (Go On Believing)” (4:44), “Rockin’ The World” (4:45), “Back To The Rock” (3:38), “Hold On” (4:09), “Show Me The Way” (4:25), “Loveshock” (5:08), “Rockin’ The World (Reprise) (:48)
Jeff Fenholt – Lead Vocals
Robyn Kyle Basauri – Lead Vocals
Joshua Perahia – Guitars & Bass
Loren Robinson – Keyboards
Joe Galletta, Joe Tafoya & Craig Ostbo – Drums
Patrick Bradley & Eric Norlander – Keyboards
“The Struggles Of Joshua.” Heaven’s Metal 19 (1989): 27-31.
“Joshua – Why ‘Surrender’ Now.” Heaven’s Metal 34 (1992): 21-22.