Vega - 'Kiss Of Life'

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Vega - 'Kiss Of Life'

A Rocktopia user review by Woody.

A new band to the world of melodic rock featuring Nick Workman (Kick / Eden) on vocals, AOR song writing geniuses James Martin on Keyboards and Tom Martin on Guitars and Dan Chantrey on Drums. No expense was spared on the album with the album been produced by John Greatwood and mastered by Frontiers favourite Dennis Ward. The band have also made a video for their lead track “Kiss of Life”, which I think is fantastic and it’s obvious from watching it the band have put a lot of their money, time, passion and energy into making a professional and entertaining music video.

The seeds of what was to become VEGA were sown at the Z Rock festival in 2009 at the greatest venue ever JB’s in Dudley. I was there, not many other people were though unfortunately but The Martin‘s were there and they got talking to Nick Workman a vocalist I‘ve since learnt they had a lot of respect for and a strong desire to work with! But that will be a great fact to tell my grand kids - I was there the day VEGA was born!

It’s hard to draw comparison’s to other bands; I’ve heard band’s ranging from the frankly bizarre to the more obvious, melodic rock suspects. To be honest though you can’t compare this band to anyone, they are VEGA, fresh new, original, contemporary - and to be honest the greatest thing to happen to the melodic rock world since Steve Perry was born. The band is obviously influenced by the melodic rock genre, but also more contemporary rock acts which give the band that fresh vibrant musically relevant sound. They have taken everything I personally love about melodic rock mixed it all up, added some 2010 attitude and delivered the greatest melodic rock album of my generation - and this is only the beginning of the melodic rock revolution these guys are going to spearhead! They have the right image and sound to inspire a whole new generation of melodic rock fans.

There are a few younger bands about at the moment and they are fun and I like them but they are quite throwaway and there 80’s video image of huge hair, dude looks like a lady make up and spandex make them a joke to modern day audiences. On the other hand VEGA aren’t throw away yet they still embody that fantastic energy and write melodic rock anthems that will echo through the decades, but with far superior lyrics, no cheese here! They write lyrics that fuel the soul and the heart but never sacrificing melodies to die for and energetic songs you want to dance the night away too. Image has never been important to my musical taste buds, but I far prefer VEGA’s style to the 80’s rock video style - maybe it’s because I’m the same age as the twins? I dunno.

I’ve always been a big fan of Nick Workman since I heard his old band Kick’s “Streets of Shame” on an old Hard Roxx sampler CD back in the 90’s. The band went from strength to strength back then, getting signed to Steve Harris (Iron Maiden) record label Beast records and having a few high profile support slots including a magnificent crowd winning performance at Wolverhampton Civic Hall supporting Thunder which I was at, that night I thought I was witnessing a band that could bring real rock back to the mainstream. Unfortunately that never happened, but I think given the right breaks and the support of the melodic rock community VEGA can break it, they are the real deal. You’ll see many reviews which hail this album as “Nick Workman’s best work since Kick’s - Consider This”, that’s bollocks as much as I love that band VEGA is without a doubt the greatest body of songs Nick has ever been involved with.

I’ve always wanted to hear Nick sing on a more straight ahead pure melodic rock record and when I heard he was working with AOR geniuses The Martin brothers I was ecstatic. Although VEGA are far more contemporary than I originally thought they would be, all for the better I hasten to add! Nick delivers a stunning career defining vocal performance here, crafting beautiful vocal melodies and unforgettable musical moments. I have to say I was originally worried about the lyrics of the VEGA songs when I discovered the Martins had deferred this responsibility to Nick. I don’t know why because I do appreciate Nick’s previous work, but I’ve developed such an affinity with the Martin brother’s lyrics I think I was just worrying something could let the side down. Oh me of little faith, I had nothing to worry about as the lyrics on this album are every bit as good as the Martin’s, Nick has really excelled himself, delivering lyrics to feed my soul!

I’ve never hidden my love of The Martin Brothers, who are the greatest AOR song writing geniuses of my generation. I first became aware of the ever so pesky Martin Brothers back in 98’ after hearing Sugartown’s “Alone” on a Hard Roxx sampler (or was it power play? The memory isn’t what it used to be) and I’ve been hooked on there sound and style ever since. Unfortunately things didn’t pan out for Sugartown with problems with singers and failing to land a suitable label deal (To all the label’s out there - I can’t believe you let talent like this slip through the net!). The guys went on to form other bands like Albion, Kryah & most recently The Station Club. The Martin’s musically spread their wings writing and performing material in more contemporary styles and I never thought they would return to the world of AOR although the pair had a great love of the genre. Turn to 2005 and I hear a mystery track in a promo campaign for a new album - that song was “Alone”.

So overjoyed and ecstatic at Sugartown finally getting in the game only to be quickly disappointed to learn that the band was Khymera and the Martin Brothers were not involved other than donating a good bunch of their songs. The Martin’s have since gone on to delight the melodic rock community writing some of the best songs of the past 5 years - true unsung heroes of the melodic rock community. They have written melodic rock gold for Khymera including the entire 2008 album “The Greatest Wonder” (my album of that year), Danny Vaughn’s From The Inside, Joe Lynn Turner’s Sunstorm, Issa, House of Lords, Ted Poley, Los Angeles, Harry Hess’s First Signal the list is endless - hey VEGA now your on the scene and kicking ass STOP GIVING YOUR SONGS AWAY!

James Martin is quite simply the greatest keyboardist EVER; his talent is overflowing all over this album. He delivers some great keyboard riffs and some really cheeky infectious hook ridden keyboard licks throughout the album - his magic makes this album shine and soar and also gives it that freshness! Tom Martin delivers the engine, the drive and energy of the songs with some big riff’s and some killer intricate guitar work! These guys should have been snapped up years ago - 12 years you’ve made us wait and now you’re here you’ve not just delivered a great album you have blown us all away with quite possibly the greatest album of all time everything else pales in comparison to VEGA!

I can’t forget Tub Thumper Dan Chantrey who is the band’s backbone and puts in a stellar performance and he also gives the songs that edge and rock n roll vibe that will have all these songs turned into live classics! With his beat and energy having everyone dancing like there isn’t no tomorrow!

Opening with “Into The Wild” a real upbeat driving melodic rocker which has fantastic hook laden guitar work and insanely catchy keyboards and a huge sing along chorus. There’s a great driving guitar riff throughout the song giving it a fantastic energy. A song with a multitude of melodies which embed themselves on your eardrums. A storming energetic dance inducing start to the album. There is some great build up moments during the song which lead to some wonderful hands and voice raising moments!

“Kiss Of Life” truly sounds like a Kiss of Life to a genre in bad need of freshening up before the old guard get too stale. It’s a rockin’ beast of a song with some soaring vocals from Nick just proving what a strong singer he is. The chorus is out of this world and is a catchy as hell sing-along and the keyboard’s on it are orgasmic! Again great energy, some fantastic keyboard flourishes, a driving riff and a great melodic guitar solo. A song with real punch and drive - a modern melodic rock classic!

“One Of A Kind” is a real smack in the face and howling wake up call to your auditory system, telling it it’s time to move it’s time to ROCK! Full of lots of lovely pomp fuelled keyboards, it’s a dance inducing melodic rock goodie. There is some fantastic bass playing on this song giving the song a real buzz and energy. There’s some Def Leppard influenced hook ridden guitar playing on the chorus. The song has a huge shout it out loud chorus with a soaring melody - destined to be a live classic. I really took to the lyrics on the song and it’s stance, a real fist pumper and it only intensify’s my love of the song even more so.

“Staring At The Sun” has fantastic lyric’s which tick all the right boxes for me - you’ll hear me screeching along to this song for many years to come! A fantastic keyboard riff and some complimentary guitar work open the song in style. This song to me is beyond awesome, and don’t even get me started on the delicious keyboard hook on the verses - dribbly wibbly (yeah I know that don’t make sense, so sue me!). The song builds fantastically to a marvellous chorus which see’s Nick shine and create some beautiful and unforgettable vocal melodies. Drummer Dan Chantrey also shines here giving the song some real punch, this is a song I will demand the band play live! With huge keyboards all over this song and a driving guitar sound it makes for yet another awesome sing along melodic rock anthem from Heaven! Oh and the guitar outro is immense!!!

“Too Young For Wings” is a stripped down emotive ballad with some beautiful intricate guitar work. The song also see’s a stirling vocal performance from Nick! Along with some great sweeping atmospheric keyboard work is a strong and impressive guitar solo.

“A.N.other” is probably the most contemporary sounding song on the album and a little off kilter but not in a bad way, in a VERY good way. There’s a big chunky guitar riff with some insistent keyboards, there’s a great build to a driving riff and a smooth melodic rock chorus, another gem! The woo woo’s post chorus are insanely catchy as well. This song has a great impact and will be killer live, yet another fantastic performance from Nick.

“Headlights” has a bittersweet feel to it especially in the fantastic opening intricate guitar playing. This song is an AOR classic, one of the more traditional sounding songs on the album and it’s a song that bands like Journey would kill for. I love the vocal melody Nick creates in the song especially in the chorus on the line “baby, don’t burn a hole in my soul”. It’s a chorus from the god’s and features some fine piano work from James Martin. This will have everyone singing along till the early hours - magnificent and beautiful.

“Hearts Of Glass” they should have opened the album with this song, a real full force rocker with an anthemic fist pumping shout it out loud chorus! There’s a short but effective atmospheric intro which builds to a fantastic bang of intro - which on first listen I had to start from the beginning again so I could screech YEAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!! Too it! And it kicks into a killer infectious and unforgettable guitar riff from Tom Martin. The sound has a great power and energy and it’s is impossible to stay still during it. Its anthemic chorus will have you pounding the sky! James delivers some great keyboard flourishes which intensify the melodic rock goodness of this song. This song is going to kick some major ass live and it’ll have any crowd going banana’s! I adore the lyrics to it as well, a real stomping rock classic - “Those Roses I Gave Her Left Thorns In My Side”!!!!!

“Stay With Me” is another song the likes of Journey would kill for! James performs some excellent keyboard playing and it’s a real smooth yet rockin’ song. It has an insanely beautiful and melodic chorus and again Nick’s vocals are in top form! Those Keyboard flourishes are again absolutely insane and the driving guitars give the song a fantastic energy and impact. This song will have you singing along on first play and it will demand repeat play’s from you - with no mercy! Soaring vocal’s and melodies make this a perfect summer tune!

“Wonderland” has a dark vibe to it - a great moody melodic rock masterpiece with some great guitar flourishes and licks. The song has a great beat and the driving guitar sound gives the song lots of energy and is yet another melodic rock anthem sing along classic chorus. James Keyboards are all over this song and there is an awesome atmospheric middle section which you will be chanting “enough is enough” along to which then builds to that killer chorus.

Power ballad “What It Takes” has some great keyboards, atmospheric and beautiful, with some amazing vocals which see’s Nick excelling again! There’s a killer guitar solo on here too, lyrically great too!

“S.O.S” I think is an apt closer I feel - save our souls. This is a true melodic rock anthem with see’s Nick showing his versatility on, some awesome vocals melodies make this song shine. There is a killer keyboard intro which is very infectious! It’s a driving upbeat fist pumping song with a soaring sing along chorus that you’ll be unable to resist singing along too! A smooth song with melodies to die for and the keyboards on the chorus are insane! There are also lots of hook filled guitar licks and a monster melodic guitar solo. A fantastic closer to quite possibly the greatest album of all time.

I can’t rant and praise this band enough, this is quite simply a stunning album and it hasn’t left my stereo since the moment I got it, its infectious melodic rock goodness! 12 songs that form the Anthems of the next generation of melodic rockers across the globe. One of the strength’s to album is the layers of musicianship shown here, with little hooks here there and everywhere and real depth and warmth to every song. There is a real big full rich and lush sound all over every song - its pure ear candy. I know I’m biased because I love melodic rock, do you love melodic rock? You do? Well you’ll love this too!

I think with Thunder calling it a day, I have found my new favourite band and I hope theses guys’ tour as often as Thunder! This album pretty much sums up everything I love and look for in music and in future if anyone asks me what music I’m into I won’t say label’s or bands - I’ll just hand them this album and say this is the music I love.

You want sing along choruses, anthemic rockers and melodies to die for then VEGA deliver it in spade loads. I’m man enough to admit the first time I heard the album through I cried tears of happiness; such is the incredible passion and sheer utter magnificent beautiful power of every single song on this album! I know I will still be listening to this regularly in 10 years time. So ladies and gentlemen I give you the future of melodic rock and the future is very fooking bright! Grab your beers, grab your dancing shoe’s, loosen up your vocal chords and prepare yourself for the onslaught of melodic rock anthems of VEGA!

Nick, James, Tom, Dan THANK YOU for saving melodic rock, we are not worthy.

Track Listing: Into The Wild / Kiss Of Life / One Of A Kind / Staring At The Sun / Too Young For Wings / A.N.other / Headlights / Hearts Of Glass / Stay With Me / Wonderland / What It Takes / S.O.S

Album Rating: Infinite / 5

Woody’s Essential Track: Staring At The Sun (although “all of them” would be more accurate!)

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