SAPPHIRE EYES – Breath Of Ages [CD version +1] (2018)
SAPPHIRE EYES is the realization of an ambition that has been knocking about in Alyson Avenue keyboardist Niclass Olsson’s head for several years; to form a male-fronted AOR band. Sapphire Eyes already pleased us four years ago with its self-titled debut, and now are back with second opus “Breath Of Ages” to be released tomorrow in its physical CD edition including a bonus track.
This is classic AOR in the vein of Alyson Avenue spiced up with a good shot of melodic rock. That edge is supplied by some terrific, high-energy guitar work, backed up by rock-solid performances on drums and bass, as well as by some passionate vocals.
All this makes for a nice contrast to the beautiful, silky-smooth AOR-sounds beneath, thanks to Olsson’s ivory skills. Add in some harmonies, lots of grab-you-by-the heart lyrics and some delicious ear-pleasing melodies, and you have an impressive collection of tracks on your hands.
This really is high quality AOR; full of shimmering keys, guitars that punch and soar in equal measure, strident rhythms and those oh so delicious, honey-soaked vocal verses / choruses.
Original Alyson Avenue female singer Anette Olzon (again with the band after a time with Nightwish) appears on the ballad ‘I Won’t Leave With A Lie’, one of the highlights.
But Sapphire Eyes excel on the full-on melodic rockers such as ‘My Desire’, the hooky ‘Never Again’, the Scandi keyboard-filled ‘Chasing Dreams’, the anthemic ‘Maybe’ and the quite rocking ‘Into Paradise’
Do you need class AOR? Check the soaring ‘One In A Million’ (love the chorus), the wonderful keyboards / synths of ‘Endless Hope’, ore the elegant midtempo ‘Wherever You Go’ with its clean guitars and soaring verses.
This really is a wondrous Melodic Rock flavoured AOR album that I can’t recommend highly enough. It therefore needs to be added to your already long list of must have purchases this year.
01 – My Desire
02 – I Don’t Wanna Be Alone
03 – Endless Hope
04 – Never Again
05 – I Won’t Leave with A Lie (feat Anette Olzon)
06 – Chasing Dreams
07 – Wherever You Go
08 – Maybe
09 – Into Paradise
10 – One in a Million
11 – I Won’t Leave with A Lie (Rock Version)
Thomas Bursell (Lead and Background Vocals)
Niclas Olsson (Keyboards, Background Vocals, Drums)