OSUKARU – Salvation (2012)
The Swedish / American combo OSUKARU finally hit the streets with their full length debut album “Salvation” on February 15th.
Based in Gothenburg, Sweden, Osukaru was founded by ex Eye / Katana guitarist Oskar ‘Oz Osukaru’ Petersson together with L.A. drummer Ryan Coyle.
They have already impressed the AOR community with the previous EP’s ‘GBG2LA’ and ‘Never Too Late’, but when the band entered into studio to track down “Salvation”, the singer left the band for personal reasons midway through the recording process.
But they found a more than adequate replacement in Chris Tiann (ex Dirty Dixx), as his powerful pipes and vocal tone really fits this material.
And what kind of material we have in “Salvation”? Just a wonderful bunch of fantastic classy AOR / MR tunes.
From the first sounds of the cool instrumental intro “Exit”, you’ll will be transported straight to the classic ’80s rockin’ AOR.
As on all the classic albums of the genre, the intro is chained with first track “Highway To The Stars,” a huge radio friendly AOR tune to die for. The song hasn’t a proper chorus, but the catchy refrain is driven by great rock-laden guitars and awesome keyboards.
Follower “Hot Blooded Woman” is more Melodic Rock oriented, with an insistent riff all over and a British scent. Same vibe is found on next track “City Lights”, a re-worked song from the last EP, much more effective this time, thanks to Chris Tiann vocals to a great extent.
“Till The End Of Time” is the album’s ballad, a midtempo filled with nice harmony vocals and a good melody that reminds me Danger Danger. A good one, although the production on this particular song doesn’t match the rest, probably the music tracks come from a previous, different session.
“Never Too Late” is the first single, and one of the more melodic songs of the entire CD. This sweet melodic rocker has equal parts of guitar / keys, really well balanced to grab your ears instantly.
My favorite track on Salvation is the catchy “Change Of Heart (2012 version)”. Appeared previously on one of the EP’s, here clearly we can appreciate how much Osukaru has evolved musically. This is the best arranged and performed track of the album. It has all we love in a pure AOR tune; a fat bass / compressed drums, soaring vocals (reinforced by a dreamy background chorus), elegant guitar and phenomenal shynths. The even include a smooth saxophone line that adds more texture. A really great track and my pick of the album.
Then the band returns to the melodic hard rock sound with “Tear It Down”. A marching rocker mounted over a very good drumming, strong guitars and swirling keyboards. On the chorus it turns more AOR ‘fight-movie’ style, bringing back the eighties in full form.
“Promised Land” is another winner, as this kind of AOR fueled by trepidating guitars and candy floss keyboards are gold in my book. The vocals are superb here, specially on the catchy layered chorus, and the rhythm guitar / solo are amongst the best of the album.
For the end, Osukaru goes acoustic and intimate with the likable melody of “T.M.Y.S. [Elevator Version]”, which is no other than a completely re-worked version of their song Tell Me You’ll Stay.
As bonus, we have a good cover of Alien’s classic “Tears Don’t Put Out The Fire”, recorded by Osukaru for the forthcoming “Brave New World: A Tribute To Alien” tribute CD.
I celebrate that in the mew millennium there’s a band still playing classy AOR / Melodic Rock in its purest form. This is what Osukaru offers on “Salvation”.
They have dramatically improved here the sound and musicianship from the previous EP’s. This new vocalist is what the band needed and the arrangements really nails the point now.
In short, if you – like me – are a sucker for the lovely chorus/keyboard driven ’80s AOR, you must have Osukaru’s “Salvation”.
You’ve seen it first here, at zerodayrock
01 – Exit
02 – Highway To The Stars
03 – Hot Blooded Woman
04 – City Lights (2012 version)
05 – Till The End Of Time
06 – Never Too Late (2012 version)
07 – Change Of Heart (2012 version)
08 – Tear It Down
09 – Promised Land
10 – T.M.Y.S. [Elevator Version]
11 – Tears Don’t Put Out The Fire (Alien Cover)
Oz Osukaru – guitars, backing vocals
Chirs Tiann – lead vocals
Emma-Lee Gunnari – bass
Ryan Cole – drums, percussion
Carl Dahlberg – keyboards, piano, Hammond organ
Kristopher Von Wachenfeldt – keyboards
Erik Jardenmark – sax on “Change Of Heart” and “Promised Land”
David Neil Cline – right speaker guitar solo on “City Lights”
Alexander Strandell, Johan Bernspang, Martin Ryder – add. backing vocals
The Magic Eden String Quartet – strings
BUY IT !