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TRACK LIST: 1. Unleash the Beast 5:19 2. Cross Bones Banner 3:06 3. Spread Your Wings 4:44 4. Southern Spirit 4:20 5. Desperate 4:48 6. Calico 5:24 7. Desert Plains 5:07 8. Horses & Eagles 6:21 9. Loneliness of the Wolf 5:20 10. Second to None 4:00 11. Devil's Path 4:39 All music & lyrics: by Dominech, Fuciarelly, & Wild West. LINE-UP: Andre Fuciarelli - lead & backing vocals Eric Dominech - lead guitar; backing vocals Laurent Vernier - rhythm guitar; backing vocals Stephan Dugue - bass; backing vocals Mickael Bahuaud - drums & percussion With: Jean-Francois Moreau - keyboards Engineered & produced by Moreau at "Crescendo", Nantes.
Prolusion. "Second to None" is the follow-up to Wild West's critically acclaimed debut album, "One", which was released in 1998 (through Brennus Music, too).
Synopsis. The music on all eleven of the songs on this album (no instrumentals here) represents the Rock & Roll and Rhythm & Blues-based Hard Rock with elements of light Cathedral Metal and guitar Art-Rock in the best traditions of both of British and American schools of the genre. Most of the structures here are classically traditional and their roots can be found in the music of such famous bands as Nazareth, Sweet, Grand Funk Railroad, Geordie, and partly Savatage and Judas Priest. All the essential ingredients of the genre: diverse and powerful drumming, solid riffs of electric guitar and bass, bright guitar solos, and strong vocals are presented everywhere on "Second to None". Being stylistically monolithic, this album doesn't contain ballads. However, the mild Art-Rock-like arrangements consisting of passages of either acoustic or semi-acoustic guitar and solos of bass are available on each of the songs here, though there are much more of them on those located on the second half of the CD, and especially on Horses & Eagles (8). The passages of synthesizer appear on the album only episodically and only as a background for 'battles' between solos of electric guitar, and those of bass and drums. The main merits of this album are the dense, energetic sound, the richness and diversity of instrumental and vocal themes, and the mastery of all of the band members.
Conclusion. Even though the music here is only proto-progressive in character, it's very tasteful and is rich in genuinely positive energy. In all, "Second to None" is a very good album - at least within the framework of Classic Hard Rock. To those who, like myself, like Hard Rock in general and appreciate the creation of the aforementioned bands in particular it comes recommended.
VM: May 28, 2003
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