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Graham Bonnet

Anthology

Review by Gary Hill

Let's get one thing out of the way right off the bat here: not all of this is heavy metal. I'd say that the bulk of the second disc fits that category. Some of the first one does, and some of the rest (things like Michael Schenker Group and Rainbow) aren't far from it. That warrants putting this under heavy metal as far as I'm concerned. This is a career spanning anthology that's very cool. Not only do you get two full CDs of music, but there is also a DVD. That DVD includes performance clips (some music videos and some concert footage). It also includes introductions for those clips by Graham Bonnet who comes across as very down to Earth and personable. I heartily recommend this set. It's got a lot of great material and is a good value. It should be noted that I previously reviewed all the Alcatrazz songs on their respective albums. For the sake of consistency those reviews here were copied or modified from the original reviews.

It should be noted that I previously reviewed all the Alcatrazz songs on their respective albums. For the sake of consistency those reviews here were copied or modified from the original reviews.

 

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2017  Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.

 

Track by Track Review
Disc 1

              
Only One Woman

This was written by the Bee Gees. This feels like a 1950s rock kind of thing. It's performed with a lot of falsetto. There are strings on the arrangement, too. I'm not a big fan of this thing.

It's All Over Now Baby Blue

In some ways this reminds me of Rod Stewart. It's an odd little cut with something like talk box. The instrumental section calls to mind Paul McCartney just a bit.

Warm Ride
This time around Bonnet does disco. It's another song written by the Bee Gees. The funny thing is, this is actually pretty effective. In fact, I think I like this better than the two previous tunes.
Bad Girl - Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow

Now, this Rainbow song takes us into some killer hard rocking territory. This is a real winner for sure.

Night Games

This actually sounds a bit like Rainbow to me. Of course, that's without Blackmore's guitar. This is one of the stronger of the Bonnet solo cuts. It's a cool tune.

S.O.S.

A bit more on the pop rock side, the vocals are the real selling point of this cut. The instrumental part of this feels really dated to me. I dig the quirky non-lyrical vocal section, and the guitar solo rocks.

Girl from Uptown - MSG
This is harder rocking, but then again, it is Michael Schenker Group. It's a metallic rocker with a bit of a hook laden chorus. It's a solid tune. As you might guess, this has some killer guitar soloing.
Island in the Sun - Alcatrazz

Progressive rock, hair metal and more merge on this cut. The vocals are pretty raw in their rock sound. In a lot of ways this really does feel like a cross between Rainbow and Yngwie Malmsteen’s solo stuff.

Hiroshima Mon Amour - Alcatrazz

One of my favorite cuts on its original album, this is a smoking hot hard rocker. I love the vocals on the cut. Then again, I love just about everything about this one. It’s again a bit like Deep Purple. I love the balance between the rocking and mellower stuff. Yngwie Malmsteen is the guitarist on this one.

Since You Been Gone (Live) - Alcatrazz

Another with Malmsteen, this is a live version of a song that Bonnet did with Rainbow. It is a classy jam. It’s the most mainstream thing on the original album from which it comes, though.

God Blessed Video - Alcatrazz

This is such a cool piece of music. It's very much set in a 1980s metal sound, but it's also got an almost prog rock vibe to it. I love the sound of Steve Vai's guitar here.

Will You Be Home Tonight - Alcatrazz

This isn't a metal song at all. Instead it's more of an 80s rocker. There is a bit of a blues rock edge to the cut. It has some proggy things in it, too. Bonnet really shines on the harder rocking stuff later. I'm not crazy about the first half of the cut, but the later sections really work well. This one also features Vai's guitar.

Skyfire - Alcatrazz

Another with Vai, epic metal, progressive rock and more merge here. This is very much along the lines of power metal, too. It's another killer tune.

Blue Boar - Alcatrazz

Melodic hard rock more in line with Rainbow, this is a classy tune. I dig the tasteful guitar solo on this.

Stand in Line - Impellitteri

This is definitely more of a metal song. It's screaming hot. Mind you, it has a bit of an 80s metal element on the verses. That said, the choruses seem like the kind of thing that was an influence on European epic metal. I dig the guitar sound on this song.

Tonight I Fly - Impellitteri

Another cut from sort of an 80s metal sound, this is one of the highlights of the whole set. I like this screamer a lot. It makes a good use of the contrast between more balladic and more rocking stuff. Yet, it never really drops to ballad form, just more dropped, less direct musical textures. The guitar solo is on fire.

Midnight Crossing (1989 Demo)

It's obvious that this is a demo from the sound quality. The song writing on it, though, is quite finished. This number has an interesting construction and manages to shine even in this raw form.

Hit and Run - Forcefield

This has a definite 80s metal sound to it. It's a killer tune that's catchy and meaty at the same time.

Let the Wild Run Free - Forcefield

While this cut has a lot in common with the last one (well, it is by the same act), this is more complex. It's less by-the-numbers. It's perhaps a bit less metallic, too. That said, there is still plenty of metal here. It's a strong cut.

All Night Long (2015) - Graham Bonnet Band

A new version of the Rainbow classic, this is strong. I prefer the original, but you really can't complain about this. Somehow this version makes me think of Kiss a bit.

Disc 2

               

Look Don't Touch

This is much more of an adult contemporary kind of cut. There are hints of the jazzy kind of arrangements that were so common in the 1980. This is a solid mellow tune, but it's a bit lightweight and dated.

Afterlife - Blackthorne

Now, this is more like it. Here we get some screaming hot real steel. This is one of my favorites here.

We Won't Be Forgotten - Blackthorne

As this comes in, it makes me think of AC/DC. It works out more metallic than that. It's another killer metal tune.

Don't Kill the Thrill - Blackthorne

Literally a screamer, this is a full on heavy metal assault. It really rocks.

Breakaway

This is a bit more of a straight-ahead rocker than some of the other Bonnet solo cuts. I like this quite a bit. It isn't metal, but it's definitely rock and roll.

Killer

Another that's fairly strong, this is more of an AOR rocker in a lot of ways. It does get a bit more metallic in some of the rocking sections. I love the main riff that drives that part. It makes me think of Aerosmith a bit. Comparisons to Queensryche are valid at points on this tune, too.

Hunting Time - Anthem

Take no prisoners metal, this is another screamer. It's perhaps a bit less nuanced than the last number. It makes up for that with sheer force.

Hungry Soul - Anthem

Fast paced and fiery, this is another killer metal stomper. It's almost in the middle ground between the last two cuts. It's a bit more hook laden and complex than "Hunting Time," but is much more furious than "Killer." I love the killer guitar solo.

Love in Vain - Anthem

More mainstream metal, this works well. The chorus section is more along the lines of AOR rock.

Perfect Crime - Impellitteri

Even meaner, this is another metal screamer.

Fighters Fist - Taz Taylor

I love the expressive guitar work on this cut. It's a powerful tune that is melodic, but yet metallic at the same time.

Radio Luxembourg - Taz Taylor

While not a huge change from the last song, this is just as potent as the other one. It's a great number, really.

You Are Your Money (Demo) - Elektric Zoo

You couldn't tell this was a demo if they didn't label it as such. This is a great hard rocking number that feels quite metallic. It's actually one of the better tunes here.

Lost in Hollywood

There is a lot of screaming metal built into this beast, too. It's another scorcher, but not a huge change.

My Kingdom Come - Graham Bonnet Band

This starts a bit mellower, but powers out into some screaming heavy metal from there.

Mirror Lies - Graham Bonnet Band

While a big chunk of this is heavy metal based, there are some more straight rock and roll things here, too. There even a couple bits that remind me of Alice Cooper just a bit.

 
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