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Last Autumn's Dream - A Touch Of Heaven

posted 25 Jul 2011, 05:57 by Paul Woodward   [ updated 25 Jul 2011, 11:35 ]
(Escape Music)
A touch of heaven is the seventh album in as many years from Swedish/German melodic rockers Last Autumn’s Dream. Sadly LAD bass man Marcel Jacob (Talisman / Yngwie Malmsteen) passed away last year (R.I.P). So stepping into very big shoes is Nalle Pahlsson who joins his Treat band mate Jamie Borger (drums), Mikael Erlandsson (Vocals / Keys) & Andy Malecek (Guitars) to complete the line-up.
The opening track “Heaven & Earth” is a tribute to Marcel, which features Marcel’s voice and bass playing. It’s a nice nod to someone who was a big part of the band and a sorely missed member of the melodic rock community. The album is not downbeat though, and is a fitting tribute to Marcel and a lot of the music he was involved with in his long career.
Although the band has a high output of material, they have always delivered consistently strong and enjoyable albums. Whilst in the past they have dabbled with different influences, in the sound of the songs, the have always been a solid source of good quality AOR. This album continues the tradition and it could possibly be the best and most solid album the band has released. In fact my only real gripe with the album is the two covers “See My Baby Jive” by Roy Wood & Wizard and Cheap Trick’s “Surrender”. The songs are covered immaculately and I’m sure fans of those songs will appreciate the band’s performance of them, but personally I see them as a little bit of filler and I think the album would have been stronger without them.
This album is a far more straight forward traditional sounding AOR album than the previous “Dreamcatcher” album which had a heavier & darker sound, but it is less poppy / Beatle-esque than other albums. Andy Malecek creates some great guitar harmonies and the album is chock full of hooks, instant melodies and some in-your-face choruses. Jeff Scott Soto (Talisman) sings guest backing vocals on “Last Mistake” & contributes to both the song writing on that song as well as “Caught In Between”.
The band have created some really good up-tempo and upbeat songs in the LAD style on “Caught In Between” , “Last Mistake” , “What’s On Your Mind” and the Fair Warning - esque “Come Rain Or Shine”, which has a real bright and breezy feel to it and has a killer AOR chorus. “Heartbreaker” shows a darker edge to the band with a groovier guitar riff - a slightly bluesy track. “Top of the World” has to be one of the best tracks though; it’s musically instant, catchy as hell with a big bright chorus, as well as a killer hook-laden riff and some rather excellent keys!!!
LAD has also included a number of ballads with the slow burning “How Long”& “Candle in The Dark” which has some great guitar harmonies from Andy Malecek. “Renegade” another ballad, starts off with a very atmospheric intro which slowly builds in a big traditional AOR power ballad, full of hooks and more catchy guitar harmonies. The pick of the ballads has to go to closing track “Jenny’s Eyes” which is an atmospheric piano-lead tune; an extremely powerful song in the vein of Queen’s “Who Wants To Live Forever”.
A Touch Of Heaven is another solid effort from Last Autumn’s Dream which is sure to please established fans as well as all fans of traditional sounding melodic rock. A Highly recommended release and a good musical start to the year! Same time next year guys for album number 8?
Track Listing: - Heaven & Earth - A Requiem to Marcel Jacob / Caught In Between / Top of the World / Candle in the Dark / Come Rain Or Shine / Heartbreaker / Last Mistake / See My Baby Jive / Renegade / What’s On Your Mind / How Long / Surrender / Jenny’s Eyes
Album Rating: - 4/5
Woody’s Essential Track: - Come Rain Or Shine
A Touch of Heaven is OUT NOW from all good retailers and