Track Listing
Beat Of Your Heart
Lift You Up (1)
The World Of Change
Memories Forever (3)
Pride (2)
Leaps & Bounds
Running In The Night
Keep Our Love Alive
Stay Away
Sadness Hits Like A Stone
Two Young Hearts
Could Have Been The Last Time
The Moment

(*) Best Tracks

Buy it if you like:
Rick Springfield
On The Rise
Frontiers Records FRCD 139
Produced By: Eirik Gronner & Terje Eide w/ Bennech Lyngboe
Running Time: 58.20 Release Date: February 24
Released: EU Genre: AOR
WebLink: On The Rise LabelLink: Frontiers

Great quality pure AOR albums are sometimes a little harder to find than the good ones out there. Last year we had Mecca and this year it seems there are a few more lined up. On The Rise has to be one of the best.
What's more impressive, is that like Mecca it's a debut album. The band is essentially a duo, but rather than take the programmed way out, they are accompanied by a full studio band, which has greatly enhanced the sonic quality of some fabulous pop/rock songs. On The Rise features a full sound and a balanced mix.
The guys are from Norway and therefore carry a certain European air to their sound. But they have mixed it all in with a very commercial blend of Nelson's hooks and harmonies, Giant's sense of a big production sound, Rick Springfield's layered melodies and Toto's technical finesse. Add a little of the Mecca sound, where Joe Vana was the singer and you have some idea where the album is heading.
I know I'm talking these guys up, but I've lived with this album for several months now and rate it one of the best pop/AOR releases in a long time. Each track has a different feel, while the album is held together with the same melodic thread.
Track By Track:
Opening the album is Beat Of Your Heart, a definite tribute to Nelson, featuring a hard edged guitar intro (a la Rick Springfield), giving way to pure Nelson harmonies. It's great to hear some pure AOR that isn't entirely derived from that 80's sound or from Journey! The hook filled verse moves into a bridge then a great feel good chorus with more sweet harmonies.
Lift You Up is a little more guitar driven again, darker and moodier, but still featuring more great harmonies and another stand out chorus.
The World Of Change continues the darker tone, with a Joseph Williams/Toto vibe to it. A sparse verse breaks into another catchy bridge/chorus formation with a hook that just sticks from the word go. Features a nice Lukather style guitar break mid-track.
Memories Forever is the first ballad of the album. This is a fabulous track. Moody, soft and mellow to start, slowly building as the song flows. This is another bit of brilliance straight out of the Nelson songbook. The softly sung chorus hook is another that won't be forgotten in a hurry.
And it just keeps getting better. Keeping the slower, moodier vibe is Pride, a song which is primarily guitar driven and supported by keyboards. A good verse drops straight into a chorus hook that is etched permanently to the brain first listen. I'm not sure what these guy shave been doing for the past dozen years, but they sure as hell know how to write songs with big hooks. One hell of a chorus that grows each time during the song.
Leaps & Bounds features another sweet Nelson style harmony duet. This track is mid tempo and features acoustic and electric guitars and another strong chorus, although not of the same impact as the last few tracks.
You might think the band would be running a little thin on great tracks by this stage. But no, 7 down and Running In The Night features another style, more like the punchier feel of the Nelson's Silence Is Broken album. This track is more uptempo and has a certain swagger to it. A good change in pace at a perfect time in the album's running order.
Keep Our Love Alive is another slow balladesque track, featuring a soft semi-acoustic approach and more of those sweet vocal harmonies. Another different sounding track from a varied album, yet it fits in perfectly with the rest of the material. Stay Away is another different feel within the album. This one features a tougher guitar intro and several different movements within the song. It's most comparable to one of Toto's little adventures, and like that band still features a very melodic chorus.
Sadness Hits Like A Stone picks up the tempo, with one of the album's faster beats. This has a Toto meets Giant feel to it, with some cleaver guitar parts and good vocal changes. Another strong and original chorus.
Two Young Hearts is a simple feel good pop song with more great harmonies, but not the most memorable chorus on the record.
Could Have Been The Last Time is mellower and slower in tempo than the last few tracks. It's a mid-tempo ballad that fits the album perfectly and is another solid addition to the tracks featured here.
Stranded rocks out like only a couple of other track son the album do. This uptempo guitar driven track features a tougher vocal and looser vibe.
14 tracks in and I'm still listening with a smile. The Moment closes out the album in a fitting way. This is a soft, acoustic track that is again different t anything else on the record. A very smooth track that ends the record with an atmospheric touch.

The Bottom Line
It's AOR all the way, but On The Rise offers something different, with a great deal of musical variety, all packed and delivered with some amazing harmonies, fantastic production and some of the best melodic choruses I have heard in a long time. The best thing is that even at 14 tracks, I'm struggling to find a filler. Each track has it's own feel and never once do I feel the urge to hit the skip button.
You will be doing well to find a better pop-rock / AOR release then this.

Line Up
Terje Eide: Lead Vocals, Guitars
Bennech Lyngboe: Lead & Background Vocals
Asbjorn Vie: Keyboards
Zsolt Meszaros: Drums
Jan Martin Kleveland: Bass
Roy Bjorge: Additonal Keys

Additional Ratings

AOR Heaven NEH Records Z-Roxx Loud 1 Hot Tracks Target Wishing Well Loud Metal Perris

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