CHARACTER – Checkmate (2018)
Hailing from Cincinnati, Ohio, CHARACTER was formed in the second half of the ’80s by guitarist Chris Dunnett and drummer Jim Russell. The group recorded a couple of demos for shopping labels, but then decided to release their debut CD “Checkmate” in 1996.
With a song co-produced by Steve Blaze of Lillian Axe (‘I Am Willing To Do’) who also did backing vocals, Character’s style brings to mind US melodic metal acts such as Stryper, Mariah, Dokken, and of course… Lillian Axe.
Blaze also allowed Character to record the Lillian Axe song ‘Last Goodbye’ which never appeared on any of their albums (unreleased). They put it into tape, but the song never made it into the album final tracklist.
Now this reissue includes ‘Last Goodbye’ plus demo versions of some of the album songs taken from their pre-production demo 1992.
With several line up changes but playing the local area and recording demos, Character garnered more praise in Europe (these were dark years for Rock music in America), with radio airplay in Germany, Italy, Japan, Greece, and even mentioned in Kerrang! magazine.
“Checkmate” features good ole’ ’80s sounding hard rockers with some US metallic edge on a couple of songs, but also melodic tunes including acoustics into the mix. There’s a decent production and solid playing – Chris Dunnett, still active in the scene, delivers some hot solos.
An almost ‘unreleased’ album from the underground US hard / metal scene from the late ’80s / mid-90s, and one to collect. Really cool stuff.
01 – Stranger
02 – Ready for It All
03 – I Am Willing to Do
04 – Nowhere to Be Found
05 – The Best Is yet to Come
06 – Dara
07 – I Know I Can Make It
08 – When Your’e Away
09 – Pawn in the Game
10 – Last Goodbye
11 – Too Far Gone
12 – School’s out Summer’s In
13 – Stranger (Demo version)
14 – Ready for It All (Demo version)
15 – I Am Willing to Do (Acoustic Mix)
Chris Dunnett – Guitar, Keyboards
Lee Foster – Vocals
Dan Ahrman – Vocals
Curt Hanks – Bass
Brian Hurst – Drums
Steve Blaze (Lillian Axe) – Backing Vocals
BUY IT !