KINGDRAGON – Hide The Sun (2014)
Coming from Greece, KINGDRAGON is presenting their international debut “Hide The Sun” recorded last year but delayed until 2014 for several reasons. Anyway, well worth the wait because the 12 songs on the CD are a greatly crafted pack of classic Hard Rock / AOR in the best ’80s pedigree.
KingDragon have been around in various incarnations since 2006, but their line-up as of today consists of George Aspiotis (vocals, keyboards), Anastasis F. (guitar), Mark Kontopidis (drums) and Andrew Roumeliotis (bass).
It’s safe to say that these guys have studied their classic House Of Lords, Def Leppard, Whitesnake, Dokken and Journey pages in Rock history, as “Hide The Sun” is long on catchy melodies, crunchy guitars, breezy keyboards and arena rock attitude.
Following Anastasis’ classic guitar riffery which shaped up as such an integral emblem of this album’s sound, the AORish keyboards endorsements paved by George Aspiotis took their toll. Furthermore, Aspiotis’ singing sounds so sonorous, rich and emotive as every AOR frontman, also occasionally embracing that bluesy inflictions typical of the genre adding a lot of color.
Back to Anastasis F., I had my ears enjoying the George Lynch blended with Ritchie Sambora spectrum in his playing – specially solo wise – while the rhythm section provide the necessary solid foundation to make the songs impactful.
“Last Time” opens the album and it is the best appetizer for what’s coming up next and an acquaintance with the band’s sound. Melodic as it gets with a big and fat guitar sound with Aspiotis powerful performance in front row. Impressive start.
One of my favorites, track 2 “Burn It Down” is just flat out addicting, driven by a terrific riff and a chorus that just refuses to leave your head after first listen. Rocking AOR / melodic rock is the motto here, with synth infusions and a dynamic bass / drum tandem.
On the strongly Journey influenced title track the keyboard melodies carry an AOR quality often pointing to the US scene, so be ready to get heart-broken as heard as well on “Dreams Are Broken” later.
The singing all-together backing vocals, the catchy as hell chorus and the Def Leppard / Firehouse feel of “Shout, Very Loud” will hit you from the very first bit of sound and most importantly, will lift your mood up.
Next, shades of classy nineties House Of Lords are present on “Only Winter”, a very emotional mid-tempo / ballad with acoustics and bluesy lead vocals. One of the album’s highlights.
“Victim Of Love” features a killer guitar work followed by “Asian Star”, one of the more elaborated tracks on the record. The slightly eastern melodies and the highly modulated lead vocals along with the heavier guitars spice things up and I think reveal the composing potential of KingDragon to push the envelope further and do more than just write very good hard rockin’ tunes.
The Dokken-esque “Living For Tomorrow” is another great example of the band’s abilities which that means very good arrangements, superb guitar, passionate verses and a memorable hook and chorus.
“Man Of Yesterday” is one of these songs with an ‘aural mystery’, starting with a long keyboard orchestration, acoustics and a melancholic vocal line, but then gets more rocking and vibrant somehow reminding me the great British melodic hard rockers After Hours. Great composition.
Aspiotis proves to be a very special singer, soaring to the heavens on the more melodic pieces but also spitting hard rock venom to perfection on the raging closer “Live For Rock”, a hot stomper with another impressive guitar work and a strong dose of ’80s hard rocking glory.
On their debut “Hide The Sun” KingDragon play the kind of Hard Rock / AOR we all love; hooky, catchy, groovy at times, and really, really melodic.
Over these strongly written and arranged twelve songs you have all the classic elements from the genre. There’s no doubts here, no modernism, this is pure late Eighties / early Nineties stuff, so having a great listening time is guaranteed, all rounded by a first class, polished and crisp production.
A real delight for fans of classy, timeless Hard Rock / AOR sounds.
01. Last Time
02. Burn It Down
03. Hide The Sun
04. Shout, Very Loud
05. Only Winter
06. Victim Of Love
07. Asian Star
08. Living For Tomorrow
09. Judgement Day
10. Dreams Are Broken
11. Man Of Yesterday
12. Live For Rock
George Aspiotis – Vocals, Keyboards
Anastasis F. – Guitars
Mark Kontopidis – Drums
Andrew Roumeliotis – Bass
BUY IT !