JEROME MAZZA with Tommy Denander – Outlaw Son [Japan Edition +1] (2018)
Escape Music will release tomorrow the new album by singer JEROME MAZZA (Angelica, Pinnacle Point) titled “Outlaw Son” (this Japanese edition including a bonus track), recorded alongside talented Swede Tommy Denander who also produced the recording. We can hear as well FM’s Steve Overland providing harmony vocals.
We are talking here about one of the best AOR albums of the year.
About eighteen months we were pleased by Pinnacle Point’s brilliant debut album Winds Of Change. Featuring the vocal skills of Jerome Mazza, that album was awarded by 0dayrox as one of the best debuts of that year.
He was then asked to be a part of Steve Walsh’s final solo album Black Butterfly. Again Mazza’s voice shined, seamlessly weaving itself around Walsh’s in the lead off single ‘Born In Fire’. Jerome actually got to sing three solo tracks which garnered him more international airplay and recognition.
This would all set the stage for “Outlaw Son”, Jerome’s first solo album for Escape Music record label. Having guitar ace Tommy Denander laying down tasty riffs / exquisite solos and producing, it push the music to the next level.
I know some AOR fans think that Denander’s productions have been a bit repetitive lately. Not the case with “Outlaw Son”. This is a brilliantly produced record with tons, I mean many, layers of sound and a pristine sonic output.
The album starts with “Neverland” a track that opens with a catchy guitar salvo that Neal Schon would approve of. Lyrically the world is too much for the song’s character and a fantasy land of self actualization takes hold. Denander puts his icing on this cake with a fine guitar solo.
“Immortal” opens with a big keyboard riff followed by Mazza’s soaring tenor. This is a highlight, with an AOR feeling reminiscent of Journey. Yes, Mazza’s vocal color bring to mind the mighty Steve Perry.
“The Dark Side” begins and ends with Mazza’s voice acapella. The melody is grittier, there’s a sharper guitar riff and an overall atmospphere akin Sunstorm / Joe Lynn Turner. Awesome tune.
Mazza is helped along in places by legendary vocalist Steve Overland, and this enhance the harmonies wonderfully. One of these song is “Streets of Fire”, another winner. The chorus is a monster with both vocalists at their best, while Denander embellish the song with lovely keyboards / synths. Pure AOR folks.
Another standout track is the instantly catchy “Undercover Love” fueled by both Mazza and Denander who seem to be playing off one another. This is more great songwriting, and Jerome’s voice, again is in the clouds.
“Song For The People” has a raucous guitar string bending intro followed by a very smooth, yet a little progressive melody which brings a cool variation.
“Calm Before The Storm” intros with a rapid fire guitar jam but then levels off into a big hook melodic masterpiece. Each song has equal parts melodic and clever arrangements which will make fans of early ’80s Kansas and Journey celebrate.
The title track borrows a little from Night Ranger’s ‘Don’t Tell Me You Love Me’ but eventually finds it’s own original groove.
“Unfinished Business” has a hard rocking, raw bluesy vibe through most of it, a bit of a departure from a lot of the rest of the material on “Outlaw Son” yet one of the strongest songs on the album.
“Crossfire” is another convincing melodic rock number with the smoothness of Toto or Work of Art. It showcases Mazza’s ability to go from soft to soaring. “Save The Best Til Last” is another fine melodic rock composition featuring a very optimistic story line. The bridge and guitar solo definitely find a higher level of greatness.
On “The Last Goodbye” Denander’s opening riffs set the stage for another terrific vocal performance from Mazza, whose clarity and rich delivery are present on every track.
“Outlaw Son” is one of the most meticulously crafted Melodic Rock / AOR albums recorded in recent memory. The quality of songwriting, playing and singing is truly in it’s own league here.
Jerome Mazza is one of the most talented and soon to be sought after vocalists on the scene today. Furthermore he’s surrounded himself with great musicians who have only shed a brighter spotlight on his considerable vocal talents.
As it stands, “Outlaw Son” will be in my Melodic Rock / AOR ‘Best Of’ list this year.
01 – Neverland
02 – Immortal
03 – The Dark Side
04 – Streets on Fire
05 – The Last Goodbye
06 – Undercover Love
07 – Song for the People
08 – Save the Best Til Last
09 – Crossfire
10 – Calm Before the Storm
11 – Outlaw Son
12 – Unfinished Business
JAPAN BONUS TRACK:
13 – Streets On Fire (Duet with Steve Overland)
Jerome Mazza – Lead & Background vocals
Tommy Denander – Guitars, Keyboards
Steve Overland – Harmony Vocals
Brian Anthony – Bass
Chris Metzger – Drums, Percussion