Title - 'New Dawn'
Artist - Aunt Mary
Aunt Mary are back again! Yup, everybody's favorite Norwegian brand of euro rock music have come together to to bring us a brand new album of endless rhythms and uber catchy guitar hooks. I fact, the heavy rock icons are also revealing a brand new line-up along with plans to stage select appearances across the globe.
As you may or may not know, this dynamic quartet known as Aunt Mary first started making music back in 1969, which to be fair is amazing when you come to simply look at them on the front cover for New Dawn. I mean, they barely look old enough to have been formed in the 80's, let alone the late 60's!
Anyway, moving on and with a huge fan base behind them, all in love with their progressive, melodic and heavy rock, Aunt Mary (who officially broke up in 1973 following the release of their heavily progressive oriented album Janus), now delivers us a quite brilliant new album, the aforementioned New Dawn. The aptly-titled album (see some sad facts below) features 11 new songs that seem to story tell where these guys have been, where they are now, and what the future holds for them and their devoted fans.
Chock full of interestingly crafted guitar melodies topped-off by infectious vocal harmonies that will quickly make you realize that this band just get better with age, New Dawn kicks things off with the triumphant 'Slave Parade' and never looks back. Powerful lead singer Glenn Lyse, himself actually also a 2007 Norwegian Idol winner, and who stepped in when original lead singer Jan Groth announced he had to resign due to illness from cancer (he sadly died in 2014), showcases his vocal range to perfection here, especially as we launch into both 'Unconditional Love' and 'Hopelessly Lost.'
Founding and sole original member Bjorn Kristiansen plays his guitars as if his fingers are, quite literally on fire, a talent that comes to the fore on subsequent tracks such as 'Happily Ever After,' the stunning 'G Flat Road,' and both the brilliantly entitled 'I Was Born To Ride On The Wrong Side' and the bluesy guitar licks incorporated within 'Open Your Eyes.' Sadly though, and having barely finished the recording sessions for this album, the band mates received yet devastating news: Drummer Ketil Stensvik had also been diagnosed with cancer. And in April, 2015 Stensvik passed away.
So, as you can see, this labor of musical love has been long in the making, has had various band members fall in and out, and yet has still made its way to us here today. Next up is 'Blind Date, before the masterful 'Been There Done That' leads us into one of the best tracks on the whole album, 'Soldadera.' A cut that ebbs and flows beautifully along its solid bass and rhythm guitar outlines, once again it is Kristiansen's guitar work that shine brightly, engaging and illuminating throughout.
The album is then, sadly, brought to a close with 'Don't Keep Me Waiting,' which if you’re a fan of good old 70's and early 80's soulful rock music (which I'm sure you are, for who isn't), means you will revel in how masterfully this album - one brought to us via blood, sweat and tears - is brought to an end.