Z Records ZR1997067
Produced by: Leif Johansson

Released: OUT NOW / Website
Relatives: Tesla
GENRE: Hard Rock

  1. Greed
  2. Gotta Get Up
  3. Bad Lovin'
  4. Amazed
  5. Blood Gone Bad
  6. Never Say Die
  7. Cry Me A River
  8. White Lies
  9. The Picture
  10. Underground
  11. Do I Do

21 Guns are heralded for recording one of melodic rock's best loved gems - their debut album Salute, that in 1992 went sadly undersold. The album featured vocalist extraordinaire Tommy LaVerdi, who since then has barely been heard from.
Also featured in the band was Thin Lizzy's Scott Gorham, who together with bassist Leif Johansson still holds the band together.
Leif and Mark from Z Records were the chief instigators in getting this album compiled. The songs selected are from a few sources, but all tracks were being written and demo'd for a second album with singer La Verdi that would never come.
Today, finally, through this release, we can hear some more of the great man's vocals.
The band clearly state in the liner notes that this is an album of demos, which have been restored to best possible quality. The quality of the album's 11 tracks vary, with different parts of the mix suffering in different places, through different songs.
But that's the beauty of demo's is it not? The real joy of this album is the opportunity to hear some more finely crafted songs featuring one of rock's great singers.
Tommy LaVerdi is one of those singers that just have the perfect pitch for melodic rock. A little Van Stephenson, a little Jeff Keith, a little Eric Martin, all with a European twist.
The real stars of this album are the songs themselves. They are some of the best melodic rock you will hear anywhere, anytime. Just be aware that this isn't A grade studio quality, nor a normal quality release.
But the songs - they are way above average!
Greed is a brash hard rocker, taking up where the last album left off and opening this collection in a similar fashion to the opening track of their debut.
Gotta Get Up is a classic melodic hard rocker, with solid bridge and enjoyable chorus.
Bad Lovin' is another first class melodic/AOR song - this time a soft piano ballad.
Amazed is a cover of that song that sees Tommy sounding dead on for Jeff Keith, who sang about 3 bars of this track on Tesla's unplugged record. The production interferes a little with this one.
Blood Gone Bad is sensational. Just imagine this with a million dollar production. A melodic gem that sounds like a hard rock Van Stephenson, with a vocal hook to die for, not to mention a great chorus.
Never Say Die is a melodic rocker with another huge chorus and a high-tech sound that would have put these guys into legendary status, had it been released in it's day.
Cry Me A River is a moody mid-tempo rock ballad with lots of soul from Tommy.
White Lies is much the same style as the last track, but equally as enjoyable.
The Picture is a wonderfully moody, soft and souldful ballad with a real atmospheric feel.
Underground is back rocking again, but again, the production is an ever lower quality on this one.
Do I Do is a funky hard rocker that was previously called No Soul and used on the band's second album without Verdi titled Nothing's Real.
It also has to be noted that The Picture and Blood Gone Bad were featured on the Z Records Euro re-release of the band's Nothing's Sacred album.
Underground was also re-recorded and featured on the Solli fronted second album.
BOTTOM LINE: Quite simply - the song writing and quality of the hooks and choruses on this collection of songs is second to none in terms of classic melodic hard rock.
Had this album been officially recorded and released as the follow up to Salute there is no telling how classic it would be regarded today. The songs are just fabulous.
The only let down is the fact these are only demo's and you can't help but think towards what could have been. It's hard to think such good songs never got the chance they deserved.
But, thanks to Z, at least we can hear them in some form and believe me, I would take nay form over no form at all.
One listen to this re-establishes what a class act this band were/are and we can only hope it won't be the last we hear of LaVerdi and co.
ESSENTIAL FOR: Every fan of Tommy La Verdi and every one who owns the Salute album!
DISCOGRAPHY:Salute . Nothing's Sacred . Demolition

ADD YOUR OWN REVIEW! (Ratings out of 100 please)