|Musical Style: Melodic Hard Rock||Produced By: Dino Maddalone|
|Record Label: Majestic R&P||Country Of Origin: USA|
|Year Released: 2012||Artist Website: Joshua Perahia|
|Tracks: 14||Rating: 95%|
|Running Time: 65:27|
Guitarist Joshua Perahia’s spring of 2012 sophomore solo release Resurrection is a special album. This much is obvious after just a few listens, where a tasteful joining of AOR and commercial hard rock hooks, metal edged guitars and bluesy sensibilities emerges. It also offers a defining consistency, reflected in overall strength to the music and professional performance throughout.
Perahia, who put out his debut solo release Something To Say in 2001 but is best known for his work in Joshua (including highly regarded albums Surrender and Intense Defense from 1985 and 1988, respectively), returns following a ten year hiatus with what amounts a signature work. This can be directly attributed to quality of songwriting which, to put it bluntly, is taken to the next level. You can tell Perahia literally poured his heart out into the material here with the end result one of the finest collections of songs in his repertoire (at the very least up there with Intense Defense).
On Resurrection the artist continues to explore melodic hard rock territory. If Perahia had recorded a follow up in the immediate wake to Intense Defense this could very well be what it might have sounded like. In other words, this is the album Joshua Perahia fans have been waiting for literally years!
Standout cuts include “Divine Intervention”, with its immediately catchy AOR commercial hook, and “Blood On The Nile”, every bit radio friendly but taking the heavier heading. “The Voice Of Reason” maintains the AOR leanings but mixed with complementary keyboards and acoustic guitar.
When Perahia flexes his muscles he does so in style, as aptly demonstrated on weightier pieces “World At War”, as a result of its darker and dramatic flavorings, and “The Darkside Of Man”, mixing melody and fortitude in equal amounts. “Promises” brings an energetic melodic metal mindset and “Live Out A Lie” a heavier take on the commercial hard rock genre.
If you enjoy a bluesy side to the artist - and by that I am referring to his M Pire Chapter 1 release from 1995 – you will not be disappointed either. “Behind The Walls” gives rise to a Stevie Ray Vaughan vibe (with stand out melody to boot) and “Miracles” some up-tempo 70’s hard rock flavorings (an all around fun piece to listen to).
The remaining three songs consist of a short instrumental (“Where Eagles Fly”), radio edit to “Blood On The Nile” and part-instrumental-part-worship-rock of “Sing Hallelujah”.
Those purchasing the Collectors Edition (only 888 copies printed) are treated to bonus tracks in “Dirty Games”, a gritty hard rocker recorded live during a 1991 Joshua Band rehearsal, and “Secrets”, melodic rock live rehearsal recording from 1986 with Rob Rock on vocals (originally slated to be the single from Intense Defense).
What I most appreciate about Resurrection is the depth to its songwriting. The artist could have given us a package of three minute radio friendly hits that all sound the same but rather chose to mix things up in terms of both style (ranging from AOR/commercial to heavier guitar driven to blues based) and substance (each songs has a defining quality that allows it to stand on its own and separate itself from the rest). Also credit Perahia for extending the majority of the songs here into the five to six minute range.
Perahia recruited some top of the line talent to accompany him. It starts with vocalist Mark Boals, who can best be described as the best qualities to Ronnie James Dio, Robin Kyle Bassauri and Michael Sweet all thrown into a blender and combined into one. To say that he fits the style of the music at hand would be an understatement. Other standout performers include drummer Dino Maddalone, bassist Bryan Fleming and keyboardist Scott Warren.
But it is Perahia who steals the show with his world class soloing abilities. Once declared by Burn! Magazine as the “world’s fastest guitarist”, he upholds that moniker here in no uncertain terms, albeit he stays true to the song in the process without indulging in any sort of “wankery”. “Blood On The Nile” finds him cutting loose in blazing fashion, while “Darkside Of Man” reflects an emotional side to his abilities and “Behind The Walls” a more bluesy aspect.
Production is crisp and clean in allowing all instrumentation to rise above the mix (listen closely on a good pair of headphones and you will hear the bass breathing in the backdrop). Production also comes across slightly dry, almost as if Resurrection were recorded using analog equipment. Perhaps I am out of line here so take this with a grain of salt (actually, the effect works quite well in bringing a vintage feel to the album).
Great albums are made up of great songs and such is the case with Resurrection. If anything, the album aptly demonstrates how Joshua Perahia remains not only one of my favorite guitarists but songwriters as well. Let’s hope it is not another ten years until we hear from him again!
Track By Track
AOR influenced “Divine Intervention” gets things going. A big hook commercial rocker, the song literally bleeds accessibility, laying a firm foundation of crunch heavy guitar but put over the top by the infections nature to its chorus (vocal melodies are huge). It’s the crime of the century this hasn’t taken over FM radio. Lyric snippet:
Stretching for the edge I’ve missed again
No more reaching milestones, I’m falling back down the hill
It’s getting much more difficult, with every pass and failure
This travesty has only brought me to my knees
And getting closer to your world
Desperately I’m clinging to a rock and begging please
And I feel it getting closer
I need Your Divine Intervention
I need You to intervene right now
“The Voice Of Reason” maintains the AOR proclivity. This one takes the smoother and more even approach, mixing hints of airy keyboards and crisp acoustic guitars to establish an atmosphere on the ethereal side of things. An underpinning bass line and assertive drum work establishes the happening low end.
“Blood On The Nile” delivers an element of muscle while maintaining the radio friendly sensibilities. The song proves dramatic in feel, as found in the whirling helicopter blades, machine gun fire and militant drums at its start but proves a heavy duty rocker the rest of the way with its motivated riff and blazing guitar lead emphasis. Chorus, again, is infectious and certain to pull you in on first listen. Lyric snippet:
Angels of death, guns in the air
The cost of doing business
A state of rage, crimes of despair
Is it a statement, a holy war, from a foreign shore
Evil men, hypocrisy, or payback for the free
The weight of the world He carries alone
Brought on by trials and fire
To lift up my voice while calling Your name
That screams from Blood on the Nile
“World At War” rates with the albums heaviest. With walls of snarling guitars playing a prevailing role, the song maintains a mid-paced mindset as Boals adds some low-key grit to his delivery in matching the angst laden and darker nature to the music at hand. There is almost a traditional metal feel here. Lyric snippet:
Struck down while the beating continued
Many soldiers laughed in disgrace
Hit so hard you could not recognize Him
In the end you would not know His face
Many gathered to mock and rebuke Him
Just to see Him hang until dead
World at war
Skies are on fire
The nations inspire
Feel His wounds
Put there to guide us
The Lion returns
The hunt will define us
The same can be said for “The Darkside Of Man”. Guitar feedback and pounding drums gets things going prior to a sledgehammer guitar crashing in, with the song joining equal elements of melody (with profound vocal harmonies and acoustic guitars making their presence felt) and heaviness (a muscular rhythm guitar periodically bounces in and out of the mix) its length. Perahia’s soloing throughout is nothing less than inspired.
What we have in “Behind The Walls” is a gritty, blues drenched heavy rocker. Plodding, trenchant and oozing with edgy emotion, the song scratches its length to blues laden licks and chops in abundance, only picking up in pace when the heartfelt emotion that is its chorus is obtained. Blues finds Perahia in his natural element. Lyric snippet:
Though the bravest men have lived for freedom, so many cases
We seem to find corrupted leaders in highest places
We lift them as kings, who feed off our dreams
Then close the doors, with walls, behind those walls
I’ve heard it all a thousand times,
From the battlefield, behind enemy lines
Built by the sword, w were fire and gold
A land that was tempered by steel
With power so good, it shook the whole world
Don’t let the cruel make you kneel
Back to touches of AOR with “Live Out A Lie”. But it is not commercial AOR but rather a heaver take on the genre as driving bass lines and assertive riff action stand alongside beautiful guitar harmonies and pristine vocal melodies in equal portions. This one sounds like a high quality Intense Defense outtake.
A return to bluesy territory can be found in “Miracles”. This one is nothing less than a joy to listen to, rollicking in enticing fashion to tenacious slide guitar, Boals’ moving vocal performance and full on inspired momentum that does not let up its six minute length. This sounds like something Sarepta might come up with (it is that good). Lyric snippet:
I was so lonely, always reaching for Your hand
You filled the silence, for a shadow of a man
I’ve been abused and criticized
But I know my heart can take it
Cause every time I see Your face
It just clears my worried mind
I need Your love to keep me happening
I need Your words to make me strong
Under the light of day, I see Your miracles
Over my head it flows like a burning waterfall
Eighties influenced melodic metal of “Promises” maintains the up-tempo mentality. Underpinned by a forceful bass line, the song storms front to back with its non-stop energy and swarthy guitar tones upholding a setting that has brazen written all over it. Am I out of like to suggest a slight Stryper vibe here?
Worship rocker “Sing Hallelujah” divides into two parts: Its first minute and a half is instrumental in featuring a fusion-like combination of piano and gently played guitar. Worshipful flavorings carry the remaining distance with female backing vocals, keyboards and emotional milieu setting the inspired tone. Lyric snippet:
Sing highest praises to His name
Sing highest praises to His name, to His name
Song Hosanna, we will sing Hosanna
Sing Hosanna to the King… The King of Kings
We will sing, Hallelujah
Sing Hallelujah to the Lord…
To the Lord… To the King
Review by Andrew Rockwell
Track Listing: “Divine Intervention” (5:38), “Where Eagles Fly” (1:00), “The Voice Of Reason” (5:54), “Blood On The Nile” (6:02), “World At War” (5:21), “The Darkside Of Man” (5:07), “Behind The Walls” (5:44), “Live Out A Lie” (4:13), “Miracles” (5:50), “Promises” (3:40), “Blood On The Nile (radio edit) (4:13), “Sing Hallelujah” (4:54)
Mark Boals - Vocals
Joshua Perahia - Guitars
Scott Warren - Keyboards
Bryan Fleming - Bass
Dino Maddalone - Drums