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First Signal - 'Line Of Fire' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/19/12/b9/first-signal-lineof-fire-63-1565357119.jpg Hot

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If you're a fan of the previous First Signal albums or Harem Scarem, then this is an essential purchase.

'Line Of Fire' is the third release by First Signal, following on from their 2010's self-titled debut and 2016's 'One Step Over The Line'. The common denominator on all three albums is the superb vocals of Harry Hess. 'Line Of Fire' continues in the same vein as the previous two opuses with quality songs that veer towards the AOR-side of Harem Scarem's glorious eponymous debut. Indeed, the fabulous opener 'Born To Be A Rebel' is an early Harem Scarem demo that was co-written between Hess and fellow Canadian Stan Meissner.

This is a truly international collaboration, albeit mainly between Canada and Sweden with a touch of Chile for good measure. The latter being the multi-talented Daniel Flores, who once again provides keyboards, drums and the wonderful production. Swedes Michael Palace (guitars and bass) and Evergrey's Johan Niemann (bass) also add their expert talents.

Flores and Frontiers President Serafino Perugino took four months to choose the right song-writers, and they certainly did that! AOR anoraks will be salivating over the inclusion of 'Walk Through Fire' and 'Never Look Back' as they were written by Meissner/Carl Dixon (Coney Hatch) and Meissner/Bruce Turgon (ex-Foreigner) respectively. These actually first appeared on Metropolis' 'The Power Of The Night' which is another release that I can highly recommend. If anything, Hess elevates these already classic tracks to an even higher level.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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Additional song-writing credits go to mainly Swedish writers who may not be as famous as their Canadian counterparts, but they have nonetheless managed to maintain both the quality and the flow of the album. Other cuts include the catchy 'A Million Miles' and 'Tonight We Are The Only' as well as the exceptional ballads 'The Last Of My Broken Hearts' and 'Here With You' where Hess is at his emotive best. The superb title-track and 'Need You Now' (not the Lady Antebellum number) are pure AOR paradise. I must give a special mention to the one British song-writer, Nigel Bailey, whose 'Falling' will embed itself deep within your mind. The album closes out with 'The End Of The World', although this is far from the end as you're guaranteed to immediately hit repeat.

If you're a fan of the previous First Signal albums or Harem Scarem, then this is an essential purchase. For those naive enough to simply dismiss this as yet another "Frontiers Project", you're going to miss out on one of the AOR highlights of the year.

Mark Donnelly

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