BIG CITY – Wintersleep (2014)
“Wintersleep” is the debut CD of Norwegians BIG CITY, a new Melodic Hard Rock band, but the members behind have tons of years and experience in the music industry.
Although the material has been put on sale at digital retail sites since last year, it is now that the band has pressed a limited quantity of physical CD’s for promotion, mostly hand to hand and low-profile.
However, I suspect that with this album they’ll be on a lot of people’s radar in the near future.
Founded by guitarist Daniel Olaisen who had considered a ’80s metal band for ages, he finally put some of his ideas together early in 2009. Dan contacted former band colleague in Scariot, Frank Ørland (also on guitar) to do some shredding leads but also contributing with riffs.
A tip from a friend led them to singer Jan Le Brandt an young and talented drummer Frank Nordeng Røe. Geir Inge Olsen completed the line-up when he joined in on bass guitar.
The title “Wintersleep” reflects Olaisen’s dream, put in a winter sleep for many years but with the late ’80s effervescence intact.
“Midnight Train” opens the album with a riff that immediately grabs the attention and has a fine chorus, however it is trumped by the following track, “Innocence Of A Kill”, where the chorus gets right into your head and stays there. A blistering start is followed by a quiet verse and before the pace picks up again for that infectious chorus. Fast fingered guitar solos are also the order of the day.
The title track starts quietly but another great riff soon arrives. “Fire and Stone” is of the same ilk, slow opening then the big guns kick in for the chorus.
“Too Late” has another strong riff and the staccato guitar playing on this track is rather pleasing, adorned with keyboards in the background. “Iseline” adds a touch of galloping Euro melodic metal, at times on a quick-fire guitar motif.
Some cheesy lyrics aside, “Love Breaks the Heart” is a fine power ballad which will illicit the lighters in the air moment at a gig. The guitar solo is short, sweet and understated, being all the better for it.
“Harbor of Tears” combines a plucked riff with another strummed one to good effect, but again the quite verse structure is deployed. ‘Will You Be Gone’ closes the album with more fine guitar work.
Big City has recorded a very good debut on “Wintersleep”. The scant information on the promo suggests the album has had a three-year gestation period but if that’s so they could hone the songs the time has been well spent.
Certainly they don’t bring anything startlingly new to the Melodic Hard Rock scene, but what they do is tasty enough to get them noticed and I’d put them higher up the ladder than any number of other bands who ply their trade in that particular genre.
All the songs are imbued with great riffs, seemingly a band speciality, thanks to guitarists Frank Ørland and Daniel Olaisen whilst vocalist Jan Le Brandt has a strong delivery reminding me of Lance King (ex of numerous bands including Balance of Power) and Doogie White at places.
Don’t let this one pass by, it’s really, really good.
01 – Midnight Train
02 – Innocence Of A Kill
03 – Wintersleep
04 – Fire And Stone
05 – Too Late
06 – The Last Step
07 – Iseline
08 – Love Breaks The Heart
09 – Harbor Of Tears
10 – Will You Be Gone
Jan Le Brandt – vocals
Frank Ørland – guitar
Daniel Olaisen – guitar, keyboards
Geir Inge Olsen – bass
Frank Nordeng Røe – drums
BUY IT !