China Blue – Twilight Of Destiny [2008]

Country USA          Style AOR

Rating 85/100

Band Members
Doug Odell – Bass, Eric Ragno – Keyboards, Josh Ramos – Lead Guitars, Ron Smith – Rhythm Guitars, Tony Mills – Vocals, Zane Petersen – Drums

Tracks
01. What Do You Need But Love, 02. I Feel Like Dying, 03. Changing Ways, 04. So Wrong, 05. Don’t Be A Stranger, 06. Crimes (Of Passion), 07. Passions, 08. Movin’ On, 09. Twilight Of Destiny, 10. Lost, 11. Take Me As I Am, 12. A Last Goodbye

PROFILE

`China Blue’ is the melodic rock outfit of key player Eric Ragno (ex-`Takara’) conceived in the late 80s. Having been put on ice for decades, `Twilight of destiny’ the band’s debut saw the light of day in 2008. In a sense the waiting was worth it as the reformed version of `China Blue’ is much more potent than even the most positive would have anticipated. Eric has effectively transformed the totally obscure name of `China Blue’ into the most impressive AOR supergroup of the past five years:

Lead singer Tony Mills (`Shy’, `TNT’), lead guitarist Josh Ramos (`The storm’, `Hardline’), rhythm guitarist Ronny Smith, bass player Doug Odell, drummer Zane Petersen and naturally Ragno on keyboards. At the very center of the `China Blue’ sound are Eric’s keyboard orchestrations, Josh’s characteristic melodic guitar lines and obviously the trademark high-pitched vocals of Mills.

As one would expect the compositions are pretty amazing, for that matter you could say that `Twilight of destiny’ references directly the early 80s iconic albums of `Shy’ mixed with the sound of `Journey’ of the same time. `Changing ways’ manages to sound subtle and flamboyant at the same time, `Crimes’ has that air of mysticism, while `Take me as I am’ is a devastating melodic hard rocker where Ramos unleashes his full class on all fronts.

Truth be told, I bought the album upon its release in 2008 but hesitated to review it directly as I knew I would be biased on the back of the glow of the line up; Still two years past, the material sounds as vivid and passionate as on first play.

This is melodic rock’s super group and a rare opportunity to hear the greatest `AOR forces’ in one; If you have previously explored this rock subgenre you have probably come across most of these amazing talents. I suspect that in a few years time AOR enthusiasts will be looking at this release as a landmark of post `00s melodic rock.

Nikiforos V. Skoumas

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