Winter Parade - Two

geoviangeovian Earth Orbit
edited April 2021 in Year-2008

ARTIST: Winter Parade
LABEL: Perris Records
YEAR: 2008

LINEUP: Bjorn Kjetil Westum - vocals * Per Bjornar (PB) Riise - bass, lyrics * Dice Jacobsen - guitars, bass, drums, keyboards, computers

Additional Musicians: Sindre Hagen - saxophone on 'Sophomoronic'

TRACK LISTING: 01 Real Life City * 02 St Johns Asylum * 03 Homeward Bound * 04 I'm Still Alive * 05 Rollercoasting * 06 Lions Den * 07 Leave It Behind * 08 PFAM * 09 Gone (From My Life) * 10 Sophomoronic

RATING: image


Well it's taken me awhile to get around to this review. You can blame the Pony Express for not getting my hands on this disc sooner. Winter Parade, the boys from Norway are back with a new album, ingeniously titled 'Two'. Err yeah.

Anyone remember their 2002 debut 'Midnight In Paradise'? If we wind the clock back earlier, the band if you recall was tied up with that White Diamond saga from 2001. The late Don Lemmon (an interesting character no two ways about it) was an influential figure in bringing Winter Parade to the forefront, and somehow WP got caught up in the hoopla.

If we forget about all that WD drama for a moment, what we are left with is a pretty talented band with flair and flash combined. Now down to a trio, Messrs Westum, Jacobsen, and Riise have been through the up's and down's of life over the last six years, including ill band members, family bereavements, but have still managed to concoct an album's worth of material on a shoestring budget. Actually, the shoestrings would cost money, so I'll rephrase that.. 'less than a shoestring budget'.

Gotta hand it to the boys, quality control is pretty good throughout - all things considered, and that fluid Ronnie LeTekro styled lead guitar from Diceman just gets me everytime. Beau Hill, the producer legend from the 80's, handles the mastering, so you are guaranteed that the production and mix is top-notch.

The Songs

A bright and harmony laden beginning is presented to us with 'Real Life City'. Keyboard dabs and fancy guitar work from Dice land this right in the center of melodic hard rock. One listen to this and you'll be consigning the latest TNT effort 'Atlantis' into the bin. Honestly, this is the sort of stuff Ronnie and Tony should be doing.

'St Johns Asylum' has an unusual vocal harmony, notwithstanding the songtitle. A google search reveals that St Johns Asylum was once a mental institution in Britain. Interesting subject matter for sure, and I have to ask (from the lyrics) 'who is Holden'?

Synths take the lead on 'Homeward Bound'. I did hear this track prior to the album release, and remarked then about the abundance of synth lead. Admittedly it's not one of my favourite tracks.

I really liked the supercooled fluidity of 'I'm Still Alive', nice verses and a killer chorus. One of the highlights for me 'Rollercoasting' starts out as an anthem, and builds purposefully to a crossroads chorus - a meeting place of harmony vocals.

'Lions Den' has a near celtic introduction like 80's era Gary Moore, but it's soon shaken off with WP's brand of melodic rock, this time with some tasty synth stabs and guitar squeals. The solo spot showcases Dice's amazing six string grasp.

'Reasons (Leave It Behind)' combines those tasty keyboards and sonic guitar playing yet again. This one really has an 80's feel to it, as does the song titled 'PFAM', but the acronym reads 'Praying For A Miracle'.

To be honest, the synth swells on 'Gone (From My Life)' is another 80's contender, and one wonders what would've happened if WP had struck the same sort of success as Stage Dolls did back in the day.

The last track 'Sophomoronic' slows down the pace, and flows nicely, though the lyrics through the chorus sound kinda awkward, 'so damned sophomoronic'. I had to look up the word to see what it meant. There is a sax solo on this one which I feel didn't quite work. Ah well, it was the end of the album.

In Summary

PB Riise tells us that the best song Winter Parade recorded during the sessions never actually made it onto the CD.

'The reason why would fill several volumes, so I won't bore you with that, but believe me, that song has me in awe still, one year after Dice and I wrote it' says PB. Bummer. Oh well, looks like they will have to save it for another album then.

The thing I like about this album is the overall 80's vibe it has. There are plenty of keys, so that will please most of you here, and the guitarwork is sometimes off the planet. Another solid release from a band well revered at this website.

You can either buy the Perris Records locally in the USA, in Japan it is available from Spiritual Beast Records, or you can obtain it online at CD Baby. There, all the bases are covered.

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  • Just to fill in the gap, George – the song that didn't make it on this album was Don't Drive Me Home Tonight, which was the opener on the Snowfall album from 2013.
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