ENRICO SARZI – Drive Through (2017)
After 13 years spent as frontman and songwriter in hard rockers MIDNITE SUN (with two records released and lots of live dates), and after the prestigious experience with MOONSTONE PROJECT and SHINING LINE, Italian vocalist ENRICO SARZI is finally realizing his dream: “Drive Through“, his first long awaited solo album.
From the first to last note and from the first to last word, everything was written by Sarzi himself in order to show his multiple influences
After MIDNITE SUN’s split-up, Enrico immediately started working in order to resume some old songs that never seen the light before (being unsuitable at that time for the style of his old band), and to compose some new stuff as well. In the end he came up with eleven songs: ten in English and one in Italian language.
Afterwards, he brought in some of his old MIDNITE SUN musicians, like guitarist Cristiano Vicini, drummer Alessandro Mori (MITCH MALLOY, LIONVILLE), and bassist Marco “Sappa” Nicoli (NIGHTGLOW), here also involved as producer of the album. Even though it was a “solo” record, the arrangements of the songs were made as a real and full band work.
If you have some (or any) recollection of Sarzi’s previous band, you know his chosen genre is classic melodic hard rock with the typical 80’s melodic approach and an AORish feeling, especially for refrains and keyboards.
That’s the context for Sarzi’s songwriting, vocals, and the songs of “Drive Through”. And there’s some variety to be found among his compositions.
Sarzi strikes a heavier tone with ‘Shameless’, ‘The Repentant’, ‘Let Me Go’, and ‘Sex Perfume’. All four are marked by sharp guitar riffs, a deep bottom end and, often, a plodding, lumbering pace. With ‘Shameless’ that might pass for a blues groove; with ‘Let Me Go’, the pace can quicken in parts. All include impressive solos, and strong arrangements.
And of course, on the album there’s also a more melodious side. With ‘Afraid To Be Myself’, Sarzi develops a lighter tone to his arrangements. Adding his acoustic guitar to his melodic rock creates a pleasing AOR temperament to the piece.
The same could be said for title track ‘Drive Through’ which begins with Sarzi’s voice over piano, before rising into heavy rock later in the second half.
Despite the incendiary name, ‘Inferno’ is another light ballad-like song, again with Sarzi joined by acoustic guitar. The song rises slowly with his vocal presence leading until the riffs get pitched and a quick, killer electric guitar solo arrives.
Similar to this is ‘Nothing To Live For’ where, again, the focus is Sarzi’s voice to lead the song’s melody with acoustic guitar and piano making light but generous appearances.
Yet, with little doubt, the best song here is ‘Strange Freedom’. Sarzi’s familiar use of voice over guitar and keyboards begins the song, and then builds lightly and leisurely through the vocal arrangement to reach the focal point: a sweet saxophone solo from Stefano Avanzi.
‘S.O.S. To God’ is yet another interesting moment out of this debut. A mid-tempo rocker that features a nice groove and, of course, Sarzi’s soulful vocals in front row.
Overall, “Drive Through” is strong release by an artist that puts heart & soul in every single moment here and creates a soulful debut that will be appreciated by any rock fan out there.
There’s hard rockers, ballads and mid-paced melodic rockers. Sarzi is a good, experienced songwriter in this matter, his vocals are passionate with an AOR tone, and all is wrapped by a fine production.
Two thumbs up.
01 – Shameless
02 – Afraid to Be Myself
03 – Nothing to Live For
04 – S.O.S. to God
05 – Strange Freedom
06 – The Repentant
07 – Inferno
08 – Let Me Go
09 – Drive Through
10 – Sex Perfume
11 – Cielo
Enrico Sarzi – vocals, acoustic guitars
Cristiano Vicini – electric guitars
Marco Nicoli – bass
Marco Micolo – keyboards
Alessandro Mori – drums
Stefano Avanzi – saxophone on “Strange Freedom”
Alberto Valli – piano on “Cielo”
Luciana Buttazzo – vocals on “Cielo”
BUY IT !