Producer: Alessandro Del Vecchio
Release date: Out now
Line-up: Tommy La Verdi (vo), Josh Ramos (gu), Michael Shotton (dr, b-vo)
With: Alessandro Del Vecchio (key, ham, b-vo), Anna Portalupi (ba), Nicola Mazzucconi (ba), Jamie Brown (ba)
(10: A Master Piece / a future classic, 9: Superb, near perfect, 8: Great, 7: Very good, 6: Good, 5: Average)
First I will begin to welcome Mr. Tommy La Verdi (21 Guns) back, after many years out of the melodic rock scene. He’s singing on this new project, which also feature Josh Ramos (Hardline, The Storm) on guitars and hard hitting Michael Shotton (Von Groove) on drums. Master keysman Alessandro Del Vecchio have written most of the songs and also produced the record.
The record is packed with mellow songs, many ballads and not particulary hard (even if it has it moments), much more AOR than melodic rock if you should put it in any category. You can hear Journey, Dare and some Von Groove in it, the latter for the more progressive bits.
It opens with the Journey-esque Our Love To Stay, which wouldn’t been out of place on the giants latest record. I say the same with the fourth song Never Surrender, one of the highligts of the record. Livin’ 4 A Dream was the song chosen for the standard promotion video, and it’s a great more uptempo song. I Can Take You There is a beautiful midtempo ballad that slows things down a bit. The quality of the songs doesn’t get weaker on the line. In the middle we have the phenomenal ballad Universal Cry (my favourite on the record), a stunning piece of work, and the emotional ballad Almost Over You. The middle is in a fairly average tempo, maybe to many ballads and slow song even for my taste. The title songs, Down The Core, brings the tempo up a bit, and is another great song. The last 3 songs don’t have the standard as the rest of the record in my opinion, but are songs that the guys should be proud of anyway.
In all, this is a great record, on the edge of superb. For me there are too many ballads to gain a higher rating, half the record is made up of those. Even if most of them are really good, it’s 3 or 4 too many. More songs in the vein of Our Love To Stay or Livin’ 4 A Dream would have been the best in my opinion.
Great to see that Tommy La Verdi are back in business again, hopefully to stay this time. Josh Ramos always delivers high quality guitars and Michael Shotton impress behind the drumkit. Good production and songwriting from the litte italian keyboard-maestro Alessandro Del Vecchio sums it all up. A record well worth buying.