HIGH ROAD EASY – III (2015)
We have already reviewed two years ago the previous album by HIGH ROAD EASY, the project of German musician Sven Horlemann and vocalist Jan Knopf, whom are back again with their third effort simply entitled “III“.
Also simple are the songs featured on the album – melodic hard rock in nature – yet catchy and diverse enough to require repeat listens.
Horlemann is the orchestrator playing several instruments, while vocalist Jan Knopf is a deadringer to Steve Shannon of ’80s AOR band Idle Cure, delivering smooth phrasing and a nice melodic tone. His mid-range vocals fit perfectly to these Melodic Hard Rock tunes with an unmistakable Euro feeling, no accent at sight.
The overall sound on “III” is harder than on the previous High Road Easy album, evident since opener “Faster Than The Speed Of Light”, where title speaks for itself: an uptempo Melodic Hard Rocker with strong riffs, abundance of bass grooves and punchy drumming.
Also the darker “My Life” and the marching “This Is the Life” rock with muscle, however the rest of the songs are much more melodic.
“Between The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea” sounds typically Scandinavian melodic hard rock, same as “Haywire” with a fine catchy chorus.
Then “Darkness and Joy”, midtempo “Higher Ground” (one of the best songs on the album) and the semi-ballad “Heaven Knows” go for more AOR oriented sounds including synths.
“Wings” is another calm rocker with a smooth melody, cleaner guitars and polished vocals. “Fortune and Fame” ups the tempo a little but it’s quite generic and the solo boring.
On “III” you’ll find straight, classic Euro Melodic Hard Rock with catchy choruses and some good hooky lines, well played and arranged.
High Road Easy has evolved a lot from their previous album, with stronger songs and much better production – this time the drums sound compact and solid. Hey, they even have additional drum contributions by legend Kenny Aronoff and Troy Luccketta (Tesla).
Self managed, “III” feels really professional for an indie. There’s bands that have 20 times the money and 50 times the resources to get their albums sounding right, and even they sometimes fail.
So much respect to High Road Easy then, who have recorded an enjoyable set of tunes for this, their third album.
01. Faster Than The Speed Of Light
02. Between The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea
03. Darkness And Joy
04. Higher Ground
05. My Life
06. Heaven Knows
09. Fortune And Fame
10. Come What May
11. This Is The Life
Jan Knopf – lead & background vocals
Sven Horlemann – guitars, bass, keyboards, vocals
Magnus Brandell – drums
Kenny Aronoff, Bruce Wackerman, Troy Luccketta – add. drums
Stefan Wurz – Keyboards
BUY IT !