MTM Records proudly announces the return of, well… RETURN. The band was originally formed back in 1980 and went under the name of POLISH until they changed the name to RETURN in 1983. Since then, the band composed of lead vocalist/guitarist Knut Erik Ostgard, bassist Tore Larson, guitarist Steinar Hagen and drummer Oyvind Hakonsen have gone on to become one of the best selling bands in Norway.
From 1985 to 1993, RETURN released 6 albums and toured relentlessly throughout Europe until they decided it was time for a break. Well, the break lasted a little longer than expected and the band didn’t play together again until after the release of “TheBest of Return” in 2000 which went on to sell over 70,000 units world wide and breathed new life into the long defunct band.
Now the year is 2005 and RETURN, along with newcomer Henning Ramseth on keyboards and guitars, is poised to continue on their journey which has already lasted, on and off, over two decades. However, their new self-titled release may provide a few “bumps” in the road. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not saying it’s a bad release… just nothing special.
The disc starts with “Every Little Step”… a solid melodic rock track with some nice arranging but the keyboards can become a bit overbearing at times. “All the Way” is an interesting song as, up until the bridge and chorus, I found myself humming the melody to Shania Twain’s “That Don’t Impress Me Much” in my head. Even the guitar work at times has that “southern rock” twang to it.
“All That I See” is one of my favorite tracks. It’s your typical 80’s style power ballad but some nice arranging and keyboards bring this song to a final climax worth remembering. “Fallen Angel,” “Save The Heart,” and “Heroes & Knights” have some nice melodies which remind me of bands like WHITE LION or SLAUGHTER while “TV-Song” is a bit faster and more up-beat than many of the other tracks. It almost seems like they tried to make this in the vein of a “rock anthem” but somewhere along the way it just falls short.
Now comes “Mr. President.” All I can say is from a musical standpoint… it’s a good song. Solid melody, catchy chorus but lyrically? Look… if you’re going to be ballsy enough to crank out a political anthem about the United States from a purely liberal standpoint, at least friggin’ LIVE HERE before you start expressing your political views in your music because ya know what? NO ONE CARES WHAT YOU THINK! I can’t be the only one just absolutely sick and tired of hearing these anti-American views being expressed in music. SHUT UP AND SING!… bottom line… and this goes for you too Don Henley, Bruce Springsteen and THE CHIXIE DICKS! Errr….ummmm, I meant DIXIE CHICKS.
Finally the album ends on a strong note with “Walk It Like You Talk.” This is easily the best track on the CD. The chorus is very comparable to those powerful and punchy chorus’ made popular by bands like TESLA or THE BLACK CROWES. Along with some tight melodies and very nice guitar work, “Walk It Like You Talk” could easily be that breakout track it seems this band is striving for.
As a whole, I can’t say this is the greatest release in the world but fans of the band should like it as would many melodic rock fans in general. However, I found it rather bland at times and simply lacking in essence or originality. There’s just nothing special about it with the exception of the couple of songs I mentioned above. Yes, it’s a “good” CD and RETURN is a good band… but no better than any other melodic rock band out there.
- Knut Erik Ostgard - Lead Vocals, Guitar
- Tore Larsen - Bass, Background Vocals
- Steinar Hagen - Lead Guitar, Background Vocals
- Oyvind Hakonsen - Drums
- Henning Ramseth - Synthesizers, Guitar, Vocals
- Save The Heart
- All The Way
- All That I See
- Mr. President
- Fallen Angel
- Holy Water
- Heroes & Knights
- Walk It Like You Talk