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Visions
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From The Inside
Visions
Frontiers Records
2008
Hard Rock
Mark Balogh
www.dannyvaughn.com
www.myspace.com/vaughnband
Rating:
4.5 stars

The second release from FROM THE INSIDE is here and if you are familiar with who was involved in the first record from this project then you certainly have a lot to look forward to with “Visions”. The album doesn’t disappoint but this time around there are some changes put in place… Back of course are vocalist DANNY VAUGHN (TYKETTO) and Fabrizio Grossi (on bass guitar & production duties). But this time around they added keyboardist ERIC RAGNO to the mix (he also helped write a fair share of the albums’ material), guitarist Jimi Bell (HOUSE OF LORDS) and the great Tommy Hansen who was brought in to mix the record. With names like that you almost had to guess they were out to top the 1st record and top it they did!

The record opens with “Light Years” and the song is a driving melodic rocker with the soaring top-notch vocals of VAUGHN in fine form. Right off the bat you can hear the crispness and depth to the sound (I guess thanks go to Mr. Hansen!) that wasn’t on the debut. Jimi Bell turns in a nice solo to cap off a great opening number for “Visions”.

“Making Waves” opens with a slight pompiness to the piano sounds supplied by Eric Ragno. I’ve noticed on a lot of the projects that Ragno appears on that his keys are a bit buried in the mix and I’d love to hear him more up front. I really like his style as it’s classy and he always plays “for the song” as his arrangements are spot on. The song is a bit more in the AOR vein as opposed to the more straight-ahead rock of the opening number. I’ve always like VAUGHN’s voice on these types of songs but then again his vocals are so classy that he sounds good on almost any style. Again Jimi Bell supplies some great guitar work to really complete the track.

“If It’s Not Love” is the albums first ballad with again some classy piano accompaniment to start and VAUGHN’s vocals range from solemn to soaring as he turns in one of his more impressive vocals in recent memory and it makes for a classy track.

“Listen To Your Heart” intros with a cool keyboard and makes me again yearn to hear more from Ragno with his tasty keyboard sounds. The song itself begins with a bit of a subdued feeling but almost has the feeling like it will—and it does build into a fine anthem-like rocker. The guitars supplied by Bell have a bit of a DOKKEN-esque feel right down to the “It’s Not Love” riff coming out of the solo. It’s a very cool track and one of the highlights of an already classy album so far.

The second ballad of sorts from the record comes in the form of “Love Is No Stranger”. It’s more of a power ballad as the verses are slower like a traditional ballad but the chorus gets a bit heavier and the excellent guitar solo puts things over the top for this track.

One of the albums most immediate tracks (even though they are all pretty immediate!) is up next in the form of “21st Century”. The song has a great hook and killer melodic vocal lines from VAUGHN. You begin to hear the influence Jimi Bell has on this record as he turns in another fine solo. This type of guitar work seemed to be missing from the debut, but along with the other previously mentioned additions (Eric Ragno (songwriting & keys) and Tommy Hansen behind the mixing desk) really ties this record together and makes it even more enjoyable than the debut.

The album really seems to be starting to hit its stride as the mid-paced and super melodic “Days of Hunger” comes next. The track features a simple yet nice piano line by Ragno but I would have like to hear it a bit higher in the mix and I think it could have made the song even more over the top in terms of its melodic style. Still, it’s a great song.

“Visions” is up next with its total AOR arrangement and style. I nice change of pace for the record and another winner for sure.

By now you probably see a pattern developing here. This record is a totally classy affair and the remaining songs on the album do nothing change that. Songs like “One More Night In Heaven”, with its building verses into a soaring chorus, is nothing short of powerful. I think that song would have been a great one to close the record with but that is certainly a minor gripe.

“Push Me Off” is another super catchy tune and another early favorite from the record as it comes to a close.

All in all, like I said several times, this is a classy, well-put together album. It features some great individual performances from VAUGHN, Jimi Bell and Eric Ragno and is made that much better by the production and mix. Bless Frontiers Records for putting projects like this one together! I have a feeling this will end up somewhere in my top albums list come years end. If you’re a fan of DANNY VAUGHN and or just quality, classy melodic rock then you need to check “Visions” out for sure.


Band Lineup:
  • Danny Vaughn – Lead Vocals
  • Jimi Bell – Guitars
  • Fabrizio Grossi – Bass
  • Eric Ragno – Keyboards
  • Peter Lobo – Drums

 

Track Listing:
  1. Light Years
  2. Making Waves
  3. If It’s Not Love
  4. Listen To Your Heart
  5. Love Is No Stranger
  6. 21st Century
  7. Days Of Hunger
  8. Visions
  9. Moment To Moment
  10. One More Night In Heaven
  11. Push Me Off
  12. Telemetry

 

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