Restless – Alone In The Dark [1999]

RESTLESS_AITD

Formely known as Freelance, Restless is a melodic rockers dream come true. This moniker was chosen by leader Roger Sommers and the German label who resurrected this material on CD format in the late nineties.

“Alone In The Dark” consists of tracks from two original demos that were recorded on a 16-track home studio plus some later proper studio tracks with much better production. The songs starts in 1983 and finished 1n 1990 and it’s quite strange how a band of this quality don’t find a deal with a major. Produced by Roger Sommers itself, during the eighties he has been studying sound engineering and that’s evident here, now he’s a well respected producer and studio man, working with Saga, Jamie Rowe and others. The personnel involved are all accomplished musicians, including guest appearances by Chuck Wright (Giuffria, House Of Lords) and Jeff Scott Soto on backing vocals.

Musically this is 80s AOR with some pomp influences, while the newer songs are more hair/arena rock, strongly influenced by Def Leppard with lots of keyboards, big guitars and easy going lyrics. The high quality of the songs can be heard from the opening song “Guilty”, a killer melodic hard rocker with big, big guitars, a healthy dose of keyboards and an ultra catchy chorus, and “Alone In The Dark” continues in the same vein, giving us a first indication of the vocal skills of Sommers, while “Don’t Do It To Me” is a real belter. A great midtempo AOR tune with tons of keyboards, from the intro start until the end and a powerful chorus will blown you away. “Lightnin’ Strikes” is a semi ballad having a very beautiful and melodic tune, that was featured on the mythical AOR basement “unsigned bands” compilation “Hot Night In The City” in 1988 under their original name Freelance. “In Your Eyes” is a midtempo rocker. A gutsy melodic rock for grown up, with a neat mixture of keys and guitars. On next track “Leavin’ You” the Def Leppard style is quite obvious. The guitars are fat and the chorus multi-layered. Definetely a  strong rocker and I’m sure everyone will love the chorus and it’s harmony backing vox. The mid paced “Keep The Fire

Burning” is another killer tune, a pure 80s pompy AOR with wonderful keys. I defy anyone to not find this track an archetype for everything that AOR means to them. Hearing a track like that finally released properly restores my flagging musical spirits without indulging in superfluous nostalgia. This one alone worth this disk. “Painted Lady” is  a keyboard driven melodic rock full of energy and attitude, superbly played and instrumented but a little standard in  writing terms. “I Don’t Wanna Want You” belies Foreigner’s fundamental influence on Sommers, but Michael Lord’s keyboards

add a whole dimension of pomp to it to a spine tingling degree. A rough diamond, a ballad that will excite you, while “Body To Body” links directly to Def Leppard. Big choruses and arena rock vibe. Meanwhile “Feels Like Love” is the very  definition of pomp rock, so Roadmaster or Trillion-ish, that old bass and drum pulse, keyboard textures, stabbing guitars,  big harmonies, serious but bright and breezy at the same time, so lavish that someone will want to place a “listening tax”  on it. The emotional ballad “Willing” close the regular edition of this release. Grand piano and orchestration, featuring  a tight vocal performance.

On Japanese edition the album contain three more songs as bonus from the last recording period. The first of them “What Do  You Know About Love”,is a song where Def Leppard meets Billy Squier with a bluesy melodic rock touch and huge backing vocals. Next, “Carry That Weight”, a sweet acoustic based ballad that increases the tempo in the Damn Yankees style, while on  “Lay Me Down” follows the melodic rock pattern of opener “Guilty”. A gutsy track with big guitars and fluffy keys.

A great bombastic record. If you like keyboard driven rock with plenty of the usual ingredients like big guitars, tones of keys and catchy chorus, then this will still appeal, especially if you are one of those who miss like hell the eighties.

Band Members
Roger Sommers – Lead vocals and guitar
Michael Lord – Keyboards
Mark Bennett – Drums
Jason Orme – Guitar
Jac Mandel – Guitar
Scott Polluck – Bass
Bruffie Brigham – Bass
Chuck Wright – Bass
Danny Lux – Drums
Jeff Scott Soto – Backing vocals

Tracks
01. Guilty (1987)
02. Alone in the Dark (1988)
03. Don’t Do It to Me (composed 1983 and recorded 1986)
04. Lightnin’ Strikes (1987)
05. In Your Eyes (1986)
06. Leavin’ You (1988)
07. Keep the Fire Burning (composed 1984 and recorded 1986)
08. Painted Lady (composed 1982 and recorded 1986)
09. I Don’t Wanna Want You (1986)
10. Body to Body (1990)
11. Feels Like Love (composed 1984 and recorded 1986)
12. Willing (1990)
13. What Do You Know About Love (bonus track – 1988)
14. Carry That Weight (bonus track – 1990)
15. Lay Me Down (bonus track – 1990)

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Restless - Alone In The Dark [1999], 9.5 out of 10 based on 2 ratings