CATALANO – Dark Skies (2016)
We already presented last year on the blog the first EP by CATALANO, the new band created by former De La Cruz frontman Roxxi Catalano. Today February 29 sees the release of the group’s first full length CD “Dark Skies“.
Australians De La Cruz first and only album Street Level was released in 2013 by Frontiers Music receiving very good reviews and acceptance by hard rock fans around the globe. However, guitarist Casey Jones already left De La Cruz around the release date of the record, then the bass player.
So Roxxi Catalano decided the end of De La Cruz in 2014, and started his own band under his name.
Catalano, the band, has a lot in common with De La Cruz yet the sound in “Dark Skies” is more hard hitting and gritty sleazy hard rock in the first half of the album, while the ‘Side B’ is truly melodic hard rock akin Def Leppard.
The disc opens with the full speeded ‘Metal Dreams’ which honors its title, however in my opinion is not the strongest track of the bunch.
Follower ‘All We Need’ is more sleazy and it’s ok, but things really started to get really good with the groovy ‘Fall Awake’, driven by a killer guitar swirl and a kicking Lynch Mob-like feel.
The Winger (heavier side) influenced “War Machine” is even better with that late ’80s vibe and sharp vocals, then, as you could imagine, next song entitled “Rxckin’ Barbie Doll” is much more glammy, ’80s Sunset Strip oriented. The potent melodic guitar riff and the way of singing reminds me Stephen Pearcy’s post Ratt solo works. Great one.
With track 6 starts the more melodic (but rockin’) part of the CD. ‘Heaven’s on the Run’ is darker but its midtempo waves turn this song one of the best on the album, with a pure Melodic Hard Rock main melody and chorus.
Also I liked a lot ‘Twisted’, an early Nineties sounding Def Leppard track plenty of very well arranged layers of harmonies and some clean guitars in the mix, and next ‘Stormchild’, is quite similar to Danger Danger with Paul Laine as frontman.
‘Dangerous Thing’ starts slowly but it is not a ballad but a groovy melodic rocker with smooth vocals during the verses accompanied by clean guitars providing a cool atmosphere. Great solo here as well.
The album ends with title track ‘Dark Skies’, something that, again, Danger Danger could have created, or present day Firehouse. It’s a solid composition with a bit more adventurous arrangements and sonic delivery.
As you see, Catalano’s “Dark Skies” features two ‘sides’: the first tracks are heavier and gritty with a sleazy touch, while the second it’s much more Melodic Hard Rock with a glammy, late ’80s feel.
A solid, consistent debut with good songs and tight musicianship, and while production could be better (a proper producer can do miracles with these guys as all are skilled with their instruments), overall “Dark Skies” rocks fine, with melody and punch.
01 – Metal Dreams
02 – All We Need
03 – Fall Awake
04 – War Machine
05 – Rxckin’ Barbie Doll
06 – Heaven’s on the Run
07 – Twisted
08 – Stormchild
09 – Dangerous Thing
10 – Dark Skies
BUY IT !