(7/10) Who knows Vanilla Ninja? I guess the name rings a bell with some of you. Probably some metalheads have listened to the band from Estonia during their peak moment in the beginning of the new century. Vanilla Ninja was/is one of those bands you listen to as a rocker but never admit the fact that you do that.
However, the reason I mention this is because Lenna Kuurmaa is one of the girls from the Estonian girlband. Should you stop reading now? No, actually not. Lenna worked already on solo releases like the debut "Lenna" and the following "Teine" album. Now record number three is on the way, under the banner of Moonland feat. Lenna Kuurmaa.
The album is coming via Frontiers Records and it fits very well to the label. In total you get twelve catchy AOR based hardrock songs. From the catchiness the tracks are comparable with Vanilla Ninja, but the sound is a bit harder and has a few more edges.
Next to the singer there is another well known name connected to the album. Alessandro Del Vecchio is the man behind the project and he is also the main songwriter for the album. Knowing this it's not a big surprise that we are talking about AOR rock with wide arcs of melody in this context. Since he also did the keyboards and the production I'm tempted to say that we have typical Del Vecchio production.
This means for me a great sound, which the album has, and melodic hardrock with a big keyboard contribution. I think, that you would get such an result by merging Roxette, Nightwish and Lee Aaron (I hope you still know her).
The songs of the album might be sometimes a bit cheesy and honestly I wasn't that much convinced after the first run. But I have to admit that I started to like the tunes while listening to them a couple of times. It is easy going music which can give you a good time.
Songs like "Crime of love" and "Poison angel" are good AOR tracks with sweet harmonies and still some rocking guitars. Doubtless that an album like this also needs a heart-breaking ballad. "Live and let go" is the name and Roxette couldn't have performed it better. After this excursion there is a need for more energizing tunes. This will be taken care of by songs like "Like of steel"; a track with even some Nightwish parallels.
So, Moonland is a laid-back AOR album with a powerful and crystal clear sound. The songs are good AOR tracks with a high entertainment factor. The downside is, that it's not a lof of new stuff on the album and things often have been heard before. But at least it's done in a professional way. AOR- and melodic rock fans should check it out.
- Heaven is to be close to you
- Open your heart
- Crime of love
- Poison angel
- When love is gone
- Out of reach
- Live and let die
- Cold as ice
- Over me
- Heart made of steel
- Look at us now
- Another day in paradise
Label: Frontiers Records