Will Wallner is a British guitarist, who teamed up with female vocalist Vivien Vain after they met in Los Angeles. This encounter finally resulted in Rising, a hard rock album that was recorded about thirty years overdue. Musically they have their roots in the glam and melodic rock that was played during the heydays of the genre. It's noteworthy that a number of guest musicians on Rising were already present in the early days of glam and melodic rock.
Wallner and Vain got in contact with the well-known brothers Carmine and Vinnie Appice. Carmine was the former drummer for Ted Nugent, Cactus and Vanilla Fudge; his younger brother Vinnie is best known as the drummer of Dio and Black Sabbath. Both of them agreed to play the drums on the album together with Brain Tichy, who recently left Whitesnake to pursue new musical territories. The bass players on Rising are Tony Franklin (Blue Murder), Rudy Sarzo (Ozzy Osbourne, Whitesnake) and Jimmy Bain (ex- Rainbow). The keyboard player is Tony Carey (ex-Rainbow), but on one song Derek Sherinian (ex- Dream Theater, Black Country Communion) shows his skills.
Reading the names of all these skilled musicians you might expect an impressive album, but unfortunately I have to disappoint you. Provided that you're a fan of the rock music from the eighties, Will Wallner's guitar playing is flawless. While listening to him playing, I heard many influences of prominent guitarists like George Lynch, Reb Beach and Eddie van Halen. Great names, however, Wallner never reaches the same level as those guitar heroes of the eighties. Although heavily outdated, I still can appreciate his guitar sounds, but the vocals are my major downer. Vivien Vain sounds like a poor version of Chastain's Leather Leone; she sings very monotonous throughout the CD. This was the reason why I had to listen to the album several times to get a view as objective as possible. However, I wasn't able to listen to Rising in his entirety once due to the increasingly annoying vocals. Albums like these mostly have a short instrumental interlude. In this case it's the title track. I know, one piece mostly doesn't reflect a whole album, but as an intro to the next song Indestructible, it works.
I'm not going to describe the other songs separately; all of them are interchangeable and were probably impressive thirty years ago. I think this album will suit people over forty who still wear a denim jacket with patches on it. When you're a diehard fan of the melodic glam rock era, this could be your album of the year, despite the poor vocals. As far as I'm concerned, I let it pass.
**+ Pedro Bekkers (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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