DA VINCI – Ambition Rocks [Japan Edition +1] (2018)
Chosen by this blog among the best 2017 releases, here’s the requested Japanese Edition of DA VINCI‘s comeback album “Ambition Rocks”, appeared in Asia this year with a bonus track.
These were great news: another all time favorite bands from the ’80s, Norwegians DA VINCI, would return with a brand new album released via AOR Heaven. As part of that decade Scandinavian Melodic Rock / AOR explosion, Da Vinci recorded two stupendous albums and conquered UK and beyond.
Da Vinci lasted until 1992 before breaking up. Over the following years to the present, original members and friends guitarist Gunnar Westlie & keyboard player Dag Selboskar continued to play and write songs together.
The result is, around 25 years later, a new Da Vinci incarnation and a new album, “Ambition Rocks”.
With a single spin of “Ambition Rocks”, you’ll be transported back to 1986 for classic melodic hard rock in an AOR wrapper and that classic Scandi sound. This new Da Vinci version stands upon two pillars: Westlie’s guitar lines and Selboskar’s keyboard textures. Most songs begin with one or the other, often together.
In short, this is pure keyboard-driven stuff with sharp guitars.
New singer Erling Ellingsen sings clean, melodic and strong, while the rhythm section arrangements and style are faithful to the traditional style for the genre.
‘The Return (Intro)’ brings to mind Aldo Nova with lots of effects and helicopter whirring, but then the synths take the command on ‘Vicious Circle’: Da Vinci are back!
Dou you need more AOR-keyboard madness? Check out ‘Curious Sensation’ and ‘I’ve Come All This Way’. Love these.
Alternatively, a song like ‘Little Lonely’ moderates the pace with a steady groove, and you may sense a subtle bluesy feeling. Better for that rocking groove is ‘Painted Lady’, driven by thick riffs accompanied by a prevalent bass line.
‘Soul Survivor’ is winner, a pure Melodic Rock tune in a classy ’80s fashion, and there’s great arrangements in ‘Rocket Of Fame’ and ‘Storm On The Horizon’ , two of the more elaborated tracks on the CD.
If you need ballads ‘See You’ will put a big smile in the face (even a tear) of all ’80s fans, being ‘You’re Mine’ the other with a little midtempo pace.
Closer ‘Touch Of Humanity’ is another highlight with class all over mixing some Toto, Street Talk and Houston to great effect.
Japanese bonus track is the band’s song originally appeared as single only, the terrific Scandi-power ballad ‘Ain’t No Goodbyes’ freshly remastered by the band themselves for this release.
Da Vinci are back in full form, and the current Melodic Rock / AOR scene has recovered a legendary band to make it better and better. “Ambition Rocks” sounds modern and with an updated production, but in essence and focus, this is pure ’80s stuff full of magic.
Alongside LionHeart, Da Vinci are one of THE ‘comeback’ in recent years, and “Ambition Rocks” is a CD you need in tour collection.
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01 – The Return
02 – Vicious Circle
03 – Curious Sensation
04 – I’ve Come All This Way
05 – See U When I See U
06 – Rocket Of Fame
07 – Angel
08 – Storm On The Horizon
09 – Little Lonely
10 – Sole Survivor
11 – Painted Lady
12 – You’re Mine
13 – Touch Of Humanity
14 – Ain’t No Goodbyes (Japan Bonus Track)
Erling Ellingsen (lead vocals)
Gunnar Westlie (guitar, vocals)
Dag Selboskar (keyboards, synths, vocals)
Roy Funner (bass)
Bjørn Olav Lauvdal (drums)
BUY IT !