BIG CITY – Big City Life + Wintersleep (2018)
Norwegian melodic hard rock band BIG CITY are releasing tomorrow their second album “Big City Life” as a double CD digipak including their 2013 debut album ‘Wintersleep‘.
Big City members have tons of years of experience in the music industry, featuring members of Scariot, Blood Red Throne, Withem, Maraton, and Memoria Avenue vocalist Jan Le Brandt of whom we have presented here at the blog an exclusive compilation of solo singles.
Big City is the brainchild of guitarist and principal songwriter, Daniel Olaisen (Scariot, Blood Red Throne, ex- Satyricon). His crew includes some talented Scandi musicians including Le Brandt (Memoria Avenue, Northquake), guitarist Frank Orland (ex- Scariot), bassist Miguel Pereira (Withem), and drummer Frank Nordeng Roe (Withem, Maraton).
Apart from the brand new album “Big City Life”, the release includes their 2013 debut, ‘Wintersleep’, previously released in digital format only. A very good reason to get this album: double your money’s worth.
Another good reason to buy this album is simply the quality of the music.
Essentially, Big City plays ’80s melodic hard rock with some edge, and then wraps both neatly in AOR accessibility. Being a band formed by a guitarist you can expect an emphasis upon sharp riffs, but also twin guitar harmony, and then killer solos.
Vocalist Jan Le Brandt has a strong presence, singing smooth, melodic and clean. He knows his range and sticks to it.
As for the songs, for both sharp and big riffs, and also thrilling guitar solos, listen for title track ‘Big City Life’, ‘Stars Surrounding’, and the racing ‘Running For Your Life’. Sometimes Big City likes to trip you up at the start of song. For instance, both ‘Daemon In The Dark’ and ‘From This Day’ start with vocals over light electric guitar, before ripping into fierce riffage and heavier melodic hard rock.
But even these songs have lighter moments within.
With ‘Forgive Me’, Big City drops a ballad which turns largely on voice over acoustic guitar, yet still rises as it flows forward. Curiously, it’s the only song without a guitar solo. Similar is the closing track, ‘Home Again’ with more acoustic guitar and voice, yet rising to a stronger hard rock anthem and a slight guitar solo about the three minute mark.
Among the highlights of the bonus disc, the band’s first recording, ‘Midnight Train’ has a riff that immediately grabs the attention and and even more the fine chorus, and ‘Innocence Of A Kill’ is a killer melodious AOR tune which chorus gets right into your head and stays there.
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.
Big City’s “Big City Life” is a really strong and entertaining album ’80s inspired collection of songs, as it is “Winterleep”: very fine AOR / melodic hard rock spiced with some edge here and there.
All the songs are imbued with great riffs, seemingly a band specialty, thanks to guitarists Frank Ørland and Daniel Olaisen whilst vocalist Jan Le Brandt has a strong delivery reminding me of Lance King (of numerous bands including Balance Of Power) and Doogie White at places.
Don’t let this one pass by, it’s really, really good.
Big City Life (new album 2018)
01 – Big City Life
02 – Cryin’ in the Night
03 – Daemon in the Dark
04 – Rocket Man
05 – Stars Surrounding
06 – From This Day
07 – Running for Your Life
08 – Forgive Me Now
09 – Tower of Babylon
10 – Home Again (Bonus Track)
Wintersleep (2018 reissue)
01 – Midnight Train
02 – Innocence Of A Kill
03 – Wintersleep
04 – Fire And Stone
05 – Too Late
06 – The Last Sleep
07 – Iseline
08 – Love Break The Heart
09 – Harbor Of Tears
10 – Will You Be Gone
Jan Le Brandt – Vocals (Memoria Avenue, Northquake)
Daniel Olaisen – Guitars (Scariot, Blood Red Throne)
Frank Ørland – Guitars (ex- Scariot)
Miguel Pereira – Bass (Withem)
Frank Nordeng Røe – Drums (Withem, Maraton)