M.A.R.S - 1986 Project Driver

geoviangeovian Earth Orbit
edited August 2 in year-1986


ALBUM: Project Driver
LABEL: Shrapnel
YEAR: 1986
CD REISSUE: Reissue List..


LINEUP: Tony MacAlpine - guitars, keyboards * Tommy Aldridge - drums, percussion * Rob Rock - vocals * Rudy Sarzo - bass

TRACK LISTING: 01 Nations On Fire * 02 Writings On The Wall * 03 Stand Up And Fight * 04 Nostradamus * 05 Unknown Survivor * 06 Fantasy * 07 Slave To My Touch * 08 I Can See It In Your Eyes * 09 You And I


Forged from the fires of the Shrapnel Records Ironworks comes the M.A.R.S Project. With Mike Varney producing this, you can expect nothing more than a guitar-fest courtesy of (then) new kid on the block: Tony MacAlpine, who became one of the leading lights in the neo-classical metal style. Though Tony did release his first solo album 'Edge Of Insanity' around this time, 'Project Driver' is more of a cohesive band effort. To me, these guys have borrowed from the Racer X songbook, with fiery vocals, OTT guitars and a heavy as horses rhythm section.

The Songs

We only get the nine tracks. It's all very over the top really. Don't be expecting any ballads anytime soon. However, it's not all rapid-speed, as tracks like 'Fantasy' and 'You And I' take the slow to mid-tempo route with good effect. The classical orientation of 'Nostradamus' is probably the change-up moment on the LP, showcasing MacAlpine's deft talents on keyboards. It eventually returns to the bands's trademark heavy metal, though the context of predicting the future through the sands of time is kinda lost on me by this stage. My favourite track is the booming 'Writings On The Wall', plus you won't be short changed by the quick-fire opener 'Nations Of Fire' (which reminds me of Ratt's 'Sweet Cheater' in the tempo stakes), 'Unknown Soldier' and 'Stand Up And Fight'.

In Summary

This would be the only album from this talented quartet. All would go on to bigger things further on in the decade. Aldridge would go on to Whitesnake, so too Rudy Sarzo, while Rob Rock spent time with Joshua, Impellitteri, Axel Rudi Pell as well as maintaining an extensive solo career. The mercurial MacAlpine has done so many projects I don't have enough fingers and toes to count them all. I like to whip this album out on occasion, and remember what true guitar oriented hair metal was all about back in its heyday.

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