Rainbow, Led Zep and the Beatles! These are the bands that comes to my mind. And this Westworld's Skin is as good as the above-mentioned bands best releases. Of course they are full of "cliché" in this All-Star-Project pop-rock record, but the new work of Tony Harnell (TNT), Mark Reale (Riot), Bruno Ravel (Danger Danger) and John Reilly (Rainbow, Blackmore's Night) is full of passion and ... talent.
1 Skin -Written By – Mark Reale, Tony Harnell 4:43 2 Black Shadow Symphony- Written By – Mark Reale, Tony Harnell 5:20 3 Uneasy - Written By – Mark Reale, Tony Harnell 5:19 4 Limbo- Written By – Mark Reale, Tony Harnell 6:54 5 Elastic - Written By – Mark Reale, Tony Harnell 3:52 6 Ice Queen- Written By – Mark Reale, Tony Harnell 5:03 7 Out There - Written By – Mark Reale, Tony Harnell 4:48 8 Heart Is A Heavy Load - Written By – Mark Reale, Tony Harnell 5:11 9 Tomorrow's Yesterday - Written By – Mark Reale, Tony Harnell 3:49 10 Get A Life - Written By – Mark Reale, Tony Harnell 3:43 11 Uninvited - Arranged By – Westworld (4) Written By – Alanis Morissette 5:11
Westworld's previous CD ended up in my top 3 of last year. Their debut was a real masterpiece full of old-fashioned Melodic Rock. Obviously the album did well, because one year later the guys already release their second effort. The result has turned out to be a little more modern this time and on some moments initially a little less accessible. This doesn't mean that Skin isn't as good as the debut, it just takes some more time to get into the album. The opening title track is business as usual. The vocal parts, backed up by beautiful oriental melody lines immediately stick. The following Ice Queen starts with Tony Harnell's distorted vocals, again supported by oriental guitar plucking. As the song continues, it gets heavier and turns into a modern sounding (if you can call Led Zeppelin influences modern, that is) midtempo rocker. Just like Skin Uneasy is a more standard piece of Melodic Rock. But it may be clear that which is considered standard for Westworld, can easily be called fantastic by us normal mortals. Uneasy is comfortably not only one of the best tracks of the album, but also of the year 2000. The first ballad of the album, Limbo, is a lovely and subdued song. Even more than on the other songs, it's been carried by Harnell's vocals, while of the other instruments the violin plays the biggest part on most of the song. Towards the end the song gets heavier, and we're being treated on some great guitar playing of Mark Reale. The album continues with a classic sounding heavy midtempo rocker by the name of Black Shadow Symphony. Not the best song on the album, but the class Tony Harnell again displays here is just stunning! What a great voice this man has... More modern sounding - and still better, yes it happens - is Tomorrow's Yesterday. Particularly the chorus is fingerlicking good, although the guitar solo on which Mark Reale goes completely over the top is something you don't want to miss either. Out There has this modern feel once more. Tony's vox are more in the background on this one and it's actually one of those songs that isn't as easy accessible as we were used to on the debut. Still a great song if you give it the chance to let it get to you. Heart Is A Heavy Load starts off as an acoustic driven ballad that gets more uptempo towards the end. With all due respect for the other Westworld musicians it again becomes absolutely clear how important Harnell is for this band. Just listen to this rather light song and you'll know what I mean. Get A Life is heavy - and modern sounding - again. Again those modest vocals during the verses while in the choruses Tony's shouting it out: Why Don't You Get A Life??? The absolute masterpiece on Skin is a version of Alanis Morisette's Uninvited, a song that was played a lot on national radio in Holland. If you already loved her version, then listen to this one. I assume that after this review it's perfectly clear that I worship Tony Harnell's vocals as almost no other and this song only makes it stronger. I hope Westworld will continue making CD's like these for a long time. They certainly add a lot to the melodic scene. Again, a release that'll make my top 10 this year...