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Melodic Rock/ AOR
David Felix

5.0 Stars

Sometimes the greatest of things can come from the most unlikely of places... take the new sophomore release from Kivel Records recording artists FARCRY entitled Optimism, for example. Well... I shouldn't say COMPLETELY unlikely when it comes to FARCRY as their debut CD was an awesome record in and of itself but when I popped Optimism into my stereo, what came out was nothing less than an utter triumph! For a release coming from a smaller label like Kivel it's simply mind-blowing... every song, every lyric, every chord is just perfect and the production value goes WAY beyond what anyone would ever expect..


The CD opens with an edgy rocker entitled "Satisfaction" but this ain't no ROLLING STONES song! With it's catchy melody combined with some slick guitar fills by Mr. Fry, "Satisfaction" is the perfect track to kick this album into gear with and the soft climb right before the solo was a very nice touch... and as for the solo itself? WoW! 'nuff said...


This leads into a VERY cool track called "Over and Over (Again!)" This one is a bit more melodic enhanced by a strong chorus, some absolutely tremendous vocals by Giovi, another tasty guitar solo by Fry and some very nice underlying keyboard support compliments of none other than our old friend, masterful keyboard player Eric Ragno! "Nothing You Can Do" continues on in this same vein almost reminding me a little bit of old TRIUMPH... great track with a sweet acoustic intro leading into the solo. Then "Better Than This" is the album's only true ballad... absolutely perfect with Giovi's vocals reminding me a bit of that of Jon Bon Jovi. This acoustic driven tear-jerker, nicely builds into a powerful chorus that could compete with the best of them and the nice piano accents by Ragno really give the whole thing that added little touch of class... very nicely done and lyrically just brilliant.


"Love at First Sight" is the first of two songs on this release that is just so good that alone it's worth more than the price of the entire CD. A melodic masterpiece, Giovi simply shines on this one and the powerful, upbeat melody is perfectly flattered by a magnificently executed chorus and a tight groove that I could imagine back in the late 80's would have been giving the likes of BON JOVI or DANGER DANGER some serious competition with for the top spot atop MTV's daily top ten... when MTV actually used to play MUISIC! Just an incredible song and it wasn't until the CD release party that I found out that this was actually a cover originally recorded by a country artist by the name of Eric Michael Hopper and while the original was good, what FARCRY did for this track has made it nothing less than pure gold!


"Now That It's Over" is a little heavier with a bit of a darker verse but still maintains another impressive melodic chorus and a guitar solo which has almost a bit of a sound of a "toned-down" IRON MAIDEN. "Free" is another just amazing track with it's anthem-like chorus, it again reminds me a little bit of a BON JOVI mid-tempo rocker through Giovi's delivery and accents. Even the lyrics themselves have a bit of that BON JOVI-lyrical theme as well... very cool tune an definitely amongst one of the best on the release.


But then there's "Best of Me"... as I said there were TWO tracks on this CD worth more than the price of the album alone... but that's really an understatement when it comes to "Best Of Me." This track perfectly blends it's catchy, memorable verse, a sharply executed chorus filled with layers upon layers of brilliant vocal harmonies, a thick, rich bass line carrying the melody and an additional layer of incredible keyboard fills to produce a song that's nothing less than an instant melodic rock/ AOR classic. This song has anything and everything any fan of the genre could possibly ask for and once more, it's all executed with a class and style that's plain and simply FARCRY. Still gives me chills listening to it....


Optimism winds down with another edgy rocker with a touch of that west-coast metal style called "Too Hot To Hold." I really love the harmonies in the chorus on this one as well as the bass-heavy bridge leading into one of Fry's best guitar solos on the release. And finally, "When The Lights Go Down" creeps me out a bit in the beginning as the opening chords so closely resemble those of Steve Vai's intro to David Lee Roth's "Just Like Paradise" I can't help but wait for the percussion and Roth's vocals to kick in! Purely accidental and unintentional I have been assured but once you get past that, "When The Lights Go Down" unveils itself to be another tight

melodic rocker which is anything but David Lee Roth.


I can't say enough about this release. The melodies, the arrangements, the production, the flow... everything a melodic rock/ AOR fan could ever ask for all wrapped up in one, nice, neat little package called Optimism. Ya know, I've said it in the past that I really do hate giving 5 out of 5 star reviews simply because to me, a five out of five should be something like PINK FLOYD's The Wall or QUEENSRYCHE's Operation:Mindcrime but I have become more lenient over the years realizing an album doesn't have to be something of "epic proportion" to deserve a 5 out of 5 and to me, right now nothing is more deserving of that honor than FARCRY. We'll see ya in December guys for Rockeyez's Top 10 of the year honors!


Band Lineup:
  • Mark Giovi - Lead Vocals
  • Pete Fry - Guitar
  • Ronnie Parkes - Bass
  • Tommy John - Drums
  • Angelo Mazza - Guitar


Track Listing:
  1. Satisfaction
  2. Over and Over (Again!)
  3. Nothing You Can Do
  4. Better Than This
  5. Love At First Sight
  6. Now That It's Over
  7. Free
  8. Best Of Me
  9. Too Hot To Hold
  10. When The Lights Go Down



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