(Melodic Rock Records)
Review By Woody
Although he has been moving around in music circles for some time Guitarist and Vocalist Bryan Cole will be an unknown and a new name to most. Sands Of Time is also his first solo album despite all of his years of acquired musical experience in studios and with other bands.
I’m really glad Melodic Rock Records have gotten behind this album and Cole, because it would have been a great shame had this album never seen the light of day or worse still flown under the melodic rock radar. It is a solid melodic rock album that’s extremely enjoyable, it’s very commercial and has strong choruses that get under your skin. It has a very American melodic rock vibe, which is no surprise given Cole comes from Pittsburgh and puts me in mind of artists akin to Cliff Magness.
Sands of Time as an overall album makes me think of film soundtracks of the eighties ‘Hard To Find An Easy Way’ could have easily been placed on a film score back in the day and you’ll be shocked to learn ballad ‘I’ll Be There For You’ wasn’t used in a John Hughes / Brat Pack movie montage!
Cole has a great voice and it’s a great shame this is his first solo album and that his name is not more widely known. I do feel like we’ve have been missing out especially when you factor in what a great guitarist he is too with a great ear for melodic guitar hooks. Sands Of Time has been a great vehicle for him to showcase his voice, which is perfect for AOR and melodic rock but he also showcases his guitar skills with frequent guitar licks and embellishments fleshing out many of the songs.
Cole has covered a couple of Pride of Lions tracks, he’s put his own touch on the songs although they remain instantly recognisable. They are a tad more rocked up with stronger and more frequent guitar licks and the pomposity is toned down with the songs delivered in a more traditional eighties melodic rock way. I actually prefer Cole’s version of ‘What Kind Of Fool’! I really like his take on ‘Turn To Me’ but as a huge fan of that song I do miss the added drama Hitchcock and the POL signature sound give it.
There’s not a bad track on the album in my opinion and I enjoy it as a whole. Tracks I frequently return to include ‘When Love Breaks’ which is catchy and has a powerful chorus, mid-tempo rocker ‘We Lost The Fire’ with a driven chorus that hits home and the ballads ‘Is It Really Love’ with its bittersweet late summer vibe and the epic rousing ‘Nothing Matters’.
All melodic rock fans should really enjoy Sands Of Time and appreciate Cole’s superb vocals and strong melodic guitar style. It does have a bit of a retro vibe but it doesn’t feel stale and the quality production definitely helps elevate the impact of the songs. It’s nothing new, but it’s melodic rock done damn well and tickles genre fans in all the right places!
Track Listing: Burning With A Reason / Hard To Find An Easy Way / When Love Breaks / What Kind Of Fool / Turn To Me / I’ll Be There / We Lost The Fire / More Than A Memory / Is It Really Love / Courage To Love / Nothing Matters
Album Rating: 9/10
Woody’s Essential Track: When Love Breaks
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