Total Stranger - Total Stranger

geoviangeovian Earth Orbit
edited August 1 in year-1996

Here's a Canadian band who have just about every contemporary AOR act covered within their veiled sound. An amalgam is exactly what you get with Total Stranger.

Total Stranger - Total Stranger
ARTIST: Total Stranger
ALBUM: Total Stranger
LABEL: Sphinx Ministry
YEAR: 1996

LINEUP: Al Langlade - vocals * Andre Pelletier - guitars * Jim Flynn - keyboards * Rolly Saulnier - bass * Peter Martin - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Paradise * 02 Bed Of Lies * 03 Shy Away * 04 Can't Stop * 05 Yesterday * 06 Guardian * 07 Can't Win For Loosin' * 08 Nothin's Missin' * 09 The Mask * 10 Big Dream * 11 Shoulder To Cry On


Here's a Canadian band who have just about every contemporary AOR act covered within their veiled sound. An amalgam is exactly what you get with Total Stranger, and unlike their name, the influences are very familiar, that is if you're an AOR afficianado.

I purchased this album at the end of '96 based on a review I read in Hard Roxx magazine. Names like Survivor, Diving For Pearls and Signal were dropped into the proverbial hat, alongside Von Groove, namely the Matthew Gerrard connection (production) which was obvious.

No surprises about my curiosity then. Let's take a Journey (every pun intended as they were mentioned too!) back in time. The band originally had it's origins as far back as the mid 80's, and really only singer (and former keyboard player) Al Langlade is the constant factor throughout the years.

They've even released independent albums, none of which were distributed into the mainstream though, and according to sources, were a progressive sounding bunch. The melodic rock tendencies took over for their first proper release, initially distributed in Europe through the obscure German based Sphinx Ministry label, how that came about I'd like to know.

The Songs

The first cursory listen brings us to the impressive 'Paradise'. What a beginning. Powerful guitars, layered keyboards, and a great memorable chorus. We're onto a winner here. And so it continues through the course of songs presented here. We get Journey styled keyboard motifs on the power ballad 'Shy Away', followed by the 'Arrival' era sound of 'Shoulder To Cry On'.

A couple of nice acoustic pieces in 'Yesterday' and a personal highlight for me 'Nothin's Missin'. A continuation of Total Stranger's majestic hard rock appears with 'Can't Stop' plus 'The Mask' which is 'Paradise Part II' by the sounds of things. The Von Groove influence is apparent on 'Big Dream' while the shortened piece 'Guardian' is a lovely cascading ditty with inspirational lyrics.

In Summary

Total Stranger sort of slipped off the map, and this album didn't get the full credit it deserved back then. Not easy to find now, but worth a hunt, particularly worthwhile hearing the excellent vocals of Langlade. Killer style in the great melodic rock/AOR tradition.

[Footnote: this album was reissued in 2018]

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