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Terry Ilous
Hear And Gone
Fyco Records
Hard Rock/ Acoustic Rock
Mark Balogh
3.0 stars

What we have here is the latest release from XYZ front man Terry Ilous. This is basically a compilation of rare tracks, acoustic numbers and little-heard songs from both the XYZ and Terry Ilous solo years.

Ilous has always had a voice I liked. He’s got a great rock vocal style and the man knows how to use it. The cool thing about this release is it gives you the full spectrum of Ilous’ career in one neat little package!

The CD starts off with “Walk On Water” which reeks of 80’s hard rock but with a more modern and aggressive edge. The song is actually from Ilous’ 1996 post-XYZ project named CAGE. The song is heavy with searing guitar throughout provided by longtime Ilous cohort J. K. Northrup. I saw Northrup in the new version of XYZ when they toured for their “Letter To God” release and let me tell you he shreds big time!

“Ticket To Hell” (also from the CAGE project) follows with a slightly less aggressive edge but still has that raw feel. The song is very reminiscent of the southern California Sunset Strip sound from back in the early 90’s.

Next up is “The Road” which is in a mellower mood and Ilous’ shining vocals are really evident on a track like this. Although Ilous is best known for his hard rock background he has such a great voice that he can cover all musical styles with conviction. That will become more evident as this CD wears on but we’ll get to that soon enough.

“Here And Gone” is another song from the CAGE project. It is a straight-ahead hard rocker, not particularly a memorable song but not something that would make you hit the skip button either.

Up next is an acoustic version of the FOREIGNER classic “Waiting For A Girl Like You.” This version is very stripped back but the vocal is simply great. Not sure when or why Ilous recorded this song but it’s done quite nicely and actually almost makes it sound like a totally new and different song.

What follows next may be my favorite track on the CD. It comes from a 2000 release that Ilous put out under the name of FLYNN. That CD was titled “The Day I Spoke To Dog” and it’s definitely some of my favorite Ilous material to date. This song, “Got To Believe” is a great mellow track. It’s an acoustic-based song and the chorus is perfect even though it’s quite simple. Ilous’ vocals really shine through here and the song is just arranged perfectly. You’ll get a couple more tracks from this release a little later in the CD so keep reading on!

The XYZ classic “Face Down In The Gutter” is on tap next but this version is given the full acoustic treatment. Not as cool as the original but still somewhat interesting to hear.

Another track from the CAGE project in the form of “Save Me” is up next. The ever-present buzz saw that is the guitar of J. K. Northrup is featured again and like most of the songs from that project, they mix the 80’s hard rock sound with a more modern edge to get some nice results.

The first ever single and video from XYZ “Inside Out” is next and it follows in the same vein as “Face Down In The Gutter” as it is given an acoustic arrangement. Again, I would say it’s not as cool as the original version but its different arrangement makes it interesting enough.

THE GUESS WHO classic “American Woman” is featured next and again is performed acoustically. Much like the cover of “Waiting For A Girl Like You” featured earlier I’m not sure when or why this version was cut by Ilous but it’s definitely a cool listen.

“Out In The Cold” is next and it’s a song, which was originally on the 2006 Jack Frost (SEVEN WITCHES) CD of the same name. It’s a good song very much in the DOKKEN mold and Frost is no slouch when it comes to his way around a fret board either!

“Soul To Soul” is another track from the CAGE project. Instead of the modern-tinged in-your-face sound of the other CAGE tracks featured on this album this song is more laid back with a great hook. Acoustic guitar is the underlying tone with some nice keyboards added into the mix. It makes for a nice mellow and moody track.

The next two tracks are again lifted from the Flynn release and have to say I can’t speak highly enough of this album. Many people never even knew about it when it was released but the songs are just extremely well written and so well performed that it should have made Terry Ilous (or Flynn I guess it would be!) a household name. I can’t figure out why this CD never got the attention it deserved but now everyone can at least hear a few tracks from this fantastic release. “Unconditional” and the title track “The Day I Spoke To Dog,” gives you two more shining examples of the quality songs featured on that album. Track the CD down if you can!

A live version of the XYZ song “Maggie” is to follow. I believe this track was lifted from the scarce XYZ “Take What You Can…Live” album from 1995. The production isn’t perfect… it’s raw but it is really live and there has to be something said for that in this day of studio fixed “live” albums. You can at the very least see that this was a tight live band. If you never got the chance to see the original lineup this is a cool one to hear.

The CD is rounded out with the songs; “Can’t Get Over You” and “Make Me Blind”—, which I can only assume are older and newer (respectively). XYZ tracks—and also the Christmas standard “Silent Night”… Yeah, that “Silent Night” and it’s done with a bluesy flare and is kind of cool and certainly, worthy if you ever wanted to add it to a holiday mix CD!

In conclusion, this release isn’t totally awesome because it is just a compilation of tracks (mostly) found elsewhere, but if you like XYZ and Ilous’ vocals then it’s definitely worth checking out. It does give you some cool archive tracks to add to your collection plus it features some little-heard solo tracks mixed in for good measure. One thing I would have liked is more extensive liner notes giving me some background on the featured tracks. I’m sure anyone who is a fan would find it an interesting read. Overall, it’s a decent “stop-gap” release but I’d like to hear something new by Terry (maybe in that Flynn mode!) or even XYZ next time around.

Band Lineup:
  • Terry Ilous – Lead vocals
  • Marc Diglio – Guitars
  • Jack Frost – Guitars
  • Kameel – Guitars
  • J.K. Northrup – Guitars
  • Greg Douglass - Guitars
  • Matt Bissonette – Bass
  • Pat Fontaine – Bass
  • Tony Franklin – Bass
  • Mike LePond – Bass
  • Edwin Livingston – Bass
  • Sean McNabb – Bass
  • Jeff Pilson – Bass
  • Carmine Rojas – Bass
  • Steve Walter – Bass
  • Vinnie Appice - Drums
  • Randy Castillo – Drums
  • Glen Hicks – Drums
  • James Kottak – Drums
  • Matt Luneau – Drums
  • Paul Monroe – Drums
  • Chris Slade – Drums
  • Chuck White – Drums
  • Rick McComas – Piano
  • Sean McCaslin – Piano, Keyboards
  • Paul Mirkovich – Keyboards
  • Michael T. Ross – Piano
  • Glen Woodward - Piano


Track Listing:
  1. Walk On Water
  2. Ticket To Hell
  3. The Road
  4. Here And Gone
  5. Waiting For A Girl Like You
  6. Got Believe
  7. Face Down In The Gutter
  8. Save Me
  9. Inside Out
  10. American Woman
  11. Out In The Cold
  12. Soul To Soul
  13. Unconditional
  14. The Day I Spoke To Dog
  15. Maggie (live)
  16. Can’t Get Over You
  17. Make Me Blind
  18. Silent Night



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