IN-SIDE – Out-Side (2017)
Well, this is an expected surprise for the end of the year: “Out-Side“, the debut album from Italians IN-SIDE. Confused by the album title / band name?. It doesn’t matter; these guys play with the words but I assure you they don’t mess with the music.
Simply put, “Out-Side” is one of the most awesome AOR (and more) albums I heard this year.
Lately, there’s something in Italy… some sub-scene where classy AOR / Melodic Rock is re-born stronger than never. This country, alongside Sweden / Scandinavia, has been the home for the best bands from the genre during the last 15 years or so.
But lately, the new bands appeared trying to re-capture the purest sound of the genre – and don’t caring about modern updates to sell some records – are coming from Italy.
IN-SIDE was formed by Saal Richmond (real name Salvatore Giacomantonio), composer and keyboardist who worked as session musician for many varied artists, but his true love is Classic AOR / Pomp. He joined forces with another keyboardist, Dave Grandieri, and IN-SIDE born.
The rest of the band includes experienced singer Beppe Jago Careddu (voz), Cloud Beneventi (guitars), PJ Philip (Giuseppe Sanfilippo) on bass, and Marzio Francone playing real drums and working as sound engineer for the recording.
Yes, having two keyboardists in the band expect a ton of it, but don’t worry, everything is cleverly arranged and the synths, Moogs, etc, doesn’t overblown the guitar riffs or the great harmony vocals (all members contribute).
‘The Gate’ is not just another ‘intro’, it’s a proper song by itself despite of being short and instrumental. With a fantastic mix of atmospheric synths and ‘galactic’ sounds, this serves as a prelude for “The Sign Of Time”.
Wow… “The Sign Of Time” represents what I always loved from classy ’80s AOR; all ever present keys, tenor vocals, sharp guitar riffs and what I call ‘mysterious melody’. Darn, those keyboard stabs are to die for, and while the chorus is a bit predictable, it’s absolutely adorable. There’s very good lyrics as well, and a killer, spiralling guitar solo.
Next ‘The Running Man’ (another title with ’80s references) makes you think of AORsters OUTSIDE EDGE, and I mean not only in songwriting, but also in sound. IN-SIDE doesn’t want to update to a more current ‘punch’, they sound pure ’80s here, and I love it.
‘Block 4 (The Russian Woodpecker)’ is crafted in the genre’s traditional midtempo peace and here’s a superb vocal work by Beppe, which carries the song through different atmospheres. Call me nuts, but I hear a little QUEENSRYCHE ‘tech’ touch circa Rage For Order, and why not some classic MAGNUM.
While “I’m Not a Machine” sounds slightly more modern than the previous material, the song’s core is truly Eighties recalling some TONY CAREY material. Perhaps the current sonic waves I detect come from the AORish side of TEN due to a little proggy arrangements in the mid-section of the song. There’s a great guitar / keyboard interplay and deep vocals all over.
IN-SIDE provide variation on the cinematic “Break Down”, some kind of an ’80s movie soundtrack song, not in the ‘action flick’ mode but something I found in common with the mythical, cult movie Black Rain (1989) soundtrack. The vocals are darker, and musically – also adding synthesized percussion – puts yourself driving a Lamborghini Countach in a desert highway at night only with neon lights as scenery.
“Lie To Me” is the slow tune on the album, not exactly a ballad, plenty of emotional vocals plus very well built multi-layered harmonies. The synth orchestration is awesome.
At first listen, I am in love with “Out-Side”, a unique album in this 2017 and a perfect example of a bunch talented musicians playing the music they love whom don’t need a ‘big label’ behind to create a terrific recording.
Only hope this is not just a one-off from Italians IN-SIDE. Being released by a small label and at the end of the year, it may hurt the album’s exposure, and that would be an immense crime.
“Out-Side” is that kind of limited edition CD’s that soon will be a hard-to-find underground cult classic.
Super, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
01 – The Gate
02 – The Sign of Time
03 – The Running Man
04 – Block 4 (The Russian Woodpecker)
05 – I’m Not a Machine
06 – Break Down
07 – Lie to Me
Beppe Jago Careddu – Lead Vocals
Saal Richmond – Keyboards, Synths, Programming, Vocals
Dave Grandieri – Keyboards, Synths, Programming, Vocals
Cloud Beneventi – Guitars, Vocals
PJ Philip – Bass, Vocals
Marzio Francone – Drums
Luca Betti – Guitars
Abramo De Cillis – Guitars
Aldo Garrone – Vocals
BUY IT !