AdrianGale: Sucker Punch! review

\"SuckerMusician Jamie Rowe has had a long and resplendent career. He also has, hands down, one of the best and most soulful voices on the planet. It all began in 1986 when, at the tender age of 16, he and his brother Mikk started the Christian glam metal band Tempest who went on to release two albums, for then-Christian music label Pure Metal in ‘87 and ‘88 respectively. He spent the 90’s as frontman for one of Christian music’s most respected and revered acts, Guardian, before going on to form Adriangale with musician extraordinaire Vic Rivera in 2000. Rivera is a multi-talented songwriter, producer and engineer who has been in the business for nearly 20 years and can play just about any instrument under the sun. For those of you that aren’t familiar with Adriangale, let’s get you caught up with a brief history lesson. The band released five amazing, critically acclaimed albums for Kivel Records between 2000 & 2004 and played some of melodic rock’s biggest festivals like Firefest IV and Melodicrockfest 3 to sold out crowds in support of those records. They briefly changed their name to Crunch in 2005, due to disputes with the label over the name, which coincidently, was the name of the last Adriangale album in 2004. The band released two EPs and a live DVD under that moniker before taking an extended hiatus so individual members could pursue other musical endeavors. Adriangale are back together now, stronger than ever and poised to make a monster comeback. Their newest album, Suckerpunch!, is inundated with copious amounts of spectacular melodic rock as well as a myriad of out of this world harmonies, that would make Stryper proud and was well worth the nearly 10 years it took to finally release it. The album comes out swinging for the fences with the stellar title track Suckerpunch!. The chorus of “Throw a left, throw a right, let’s knock this thing outta sight,” will stick in your head for days to come. That and tracks like “What Would You Do,” are loaded with all the monster hooks and big sing along choruses you have come to expect and love. There are subtle hints of Danger Danger and Firehouse in “The Black and Blue.” At the same time, “Believe” and “The World We Knew,” seem to emulate Harem Scarem, Stryper or even early Guardian and closing piano ballad, “You,” is very reminiscent of “Don’t Know What You Got, Till It’s Gone,” by Cinderella and “Something To Believe In,” by Poison. “When I Said You’d Be the One” and “Could Have Been Me” will no doubt get comparisons to Def Leppard while melodic rockers like “All About The Money” and “Give Me A Sign” pay homage to 80’s hard rock legends like Dokken, Ratt or Kix. While you can hear the similarities to all the aforementioned bands, the sonic beauty that this magnificent band creates is 100% unequivocally their own. Here’s the bottom line- With a back catalog as impressive as theirs, you’d think it would be nearly impossible to put out something that could surpass previous efforts but this incredible band has done exactly that. If you like Guardian you’re gonna love Adriangale. Rating: 9 out of 10. -Eric Hunker