Maryann Cotton-Free Falling Angels
Pure Steel Records
"Free Falling Angels" is the full-length debut album from Maryann Cotton. For those of you not familiar with the name (which would probably be most people outside of Europe I'd wager) his career was launched in 2006 when he performed live on the Danish TV program "Scenen Er Din" (the Danish version of "Star Search"). Now, despite the fact that Maryann Cotton sounds an awful lot like the unknown son of Alice Cooper the two of them are unrelated. So, this isn't a case of some illegitimate child finding fame in his real father's footsteps. Instead Maryann Cotton is really Jackie Patino. Does it count if he is the son of bassist Hal Patino? Is that a stepping stone to fame? Probably not as most people would not know the name offhand. Hall Patino played bass with King Diamond and Force of Evil (among others) so there is a tiny bit of heavy metal royalty in Jackie's blood. On "Free Falling Angels" Hal Patino plays bass along with three other musicians who played on King Diamond's 1990 album, "The Eye" — guitarists Andy La Rocque and Pete Blakk and drummer Snowy Shaw. Not too bad as far as backing bands go is it? "Free Falling Angels" also features the excellent work of guitarist Sebastain Sly so musically this is some solid rock/hard rock that borders occasionally on heavy metal. Given the fact that Jackie Patino became Mary Ann Cotton (in much the same way as Alice Cooper, Lizzy Borden and King Diamond became characters) there is a built in sense of theatrics with "Free Falling Angels". According to the bio the real Maryann Cotton was a serial killer who poisoned 20 people in Victorian England with arsenic, before she was convicted of their crimes and ended on the gallows. So, when you choose to have that "name" for your stage name it sort of paints you into a corner. People might choose to look at you as a bit of a gimmick which would be a shame. "Free Falling Angels" deserves a listen first before any rush judgments. As I said there is a clear nod of appreciation towards old Alice in Maryann Cotton's voice. The influence is not subtle at all as the whole lot of songs come off as a more polished and slick Alice Cooper. Though it might sound like a copy-cat affair on paper when you sit down and listen to "Free Falling Angles" it features well-written rock numbers that are fun, catchy and quite infectious. When Maryann himself said that: “The album will consist of 11 old school garage rock songs, combined with a brutal and dirty rhythm sections, to the most beautiful orchestra arrangements.” he was actually quite close to the truth. Was he spot on though? With the guitarists (and rhythm section) involved there is much to like about the album if your a hard rock or pop metal fan. So calling this just dirty garage rock wouldn't be fair. It's more a hybrid of the best of rock, hard rock and light metal. Honestly, Pure Steel Records snagged a winner here. This was an album that not only I enjoyed, but also my 12 year old son and soon to be 14 year old daughter. Given our different tastes in music that certainly equals a genuine successful rock star in the making. I'm looking forward to what Maryann Cotton will sound like after getting a few albums out of the way. If he can stretch out a bit more and develop his own sound then maybe, just maybe, we could be looking at the start of an amazing career.