Age Of Reflection
Album: A New Dawn
Label: AOR Heaven
Genre: Adult Oriented Rock (AOR)
Release Date: September 27, 2019
Rating: 4 of 5
Sweden’s Age of Reflection is back with a new release ‘A New Dawn’. Releasing this Friday via AOR Heaven. This album holds up to the AOR test. This was a band we brought you during our 92 Daze of Summer band feature too!
Let me first start with what didn’t work for me on this album. The second track, “A New Dawn” was a bit odd out of the gates. The album starts with a heavy intro with “Aurora” that builds up like Eclipse‘s track “Blood Enemies” did as well as sounding oddly similar, then delivers you into the second track that starts with an instrumental I’ve heard on another track somewhere before, then odd distorted vocals that didn’t sound good. That vocal element just doesn’t fit this band or their sound, it’s an element that would have been better left out. Once that part passed and the Nygren‘s vocals were clear the rest of the track was an enjoyable experience.
I was not a fan of the hysterical female vocal on the intro/outro in “Go”. Way too cheesy, I can’t stand those types of fillers in a song. Unless it’s Queensryche‘s classic ‘Operation Mindcrime’ album, just deliver a great track without the needless fluff. I still wonder why bands add these elements to their albums today, to me it’s needless and truly takes away from a song by diminishing it. I pick up an album for music, not filler.
On the heels of “Go” is a cover song of a classic hit song that fails to deliver. I do not like it when bands put covers on their albums, the only exception I would say was Bonfire with their 2018 ‘Legends’ all cover songs release that was one I actually loved. With an 11 track album, I’d preferred Age of Reflection to have just left it off the album. Also, when you pick a song that was so iconic for Cutting Crew being “I Just Died In Your Arms Tonight”, you need to completely own the song and you need to do it better than they could have ever done it or it will not work. The uptempo and elevated pitch was more like intro of Bon Jovi‘s “Runaway” (I actually thought it was that song at first), not this classic hit. I did not like this song. With a band like Age of Reflection who has their own music that is already so good, there’s no need to cover another artist’s song, except maybe in a live gig situation with fans, but not on a release.
With those things I didn’t like out of the way, let’s get to the meat of the album. The remainder of the album was smooth sailing AOR. Big songs with vibrant melodies, bridges with singable lyrics and memorable hooks to instantly make fans remember a song. Many classic guitar solos that took me back to that authentic time period when AOR was in bloom in the 80’s. Tracks “Stay With Me”, “Never Alone Again”, “Here I Stand”, “Write It On The Wall” and “Can’t Let Go” where the shining stars. This is why I like bands like Age of Reflection, for the great music they make.
The ballad on the album is “What If I Break”. They slowed the tempo down just a bit for more of an acoustic feel in the opening of the track, then built it up with big vocals and great vocal melodies at the bridge. Then around the halfway point the song explodes into a full musical production elevating the track. This track stood out and shows the flexibility in the bands writing and performance abilities. Nice addition to this album.
Final thoughts, though there were a few tracks that didn’t hold up to my standards for AOR and elements in them I didn’t like, the rest of the album makes for a great listening experience. I think this is an authentic band making really good music in this genre. I would recommend buying this album.
A New Dawn
Stay With Me
Here I Stand
Until Death Do Us Part
What If I Break
I Just Died
Never Alone Again
Write It On The Wall
Can’t Let Go
AGE OF REFLECTION are:
Carl Berglund: Guitars, Backing Vocals
Lars Nygren: Lead Vocals
Jan Skärming: Bass, Backing Vocals
Jens Rüttgeroth: Keyboards
Jonas Nordqvist: Lead guitar, Backing Vocals
Peppe Vikman: Drums, Backing Vocals
Album produced by: Age of Reflection
Mixing and mastering by: Erik Mårtensson at Blowout Productions
Find Age of Reflection: https://www.facebook.com/AGEOFREFLECTION
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