Tuesday, June 09, 2015

The V-Now or Never

Frontiers Music srl

"Now or Never" will drop on July 10th and you had to have known that this would eventually happen. It's just surprising that it took this long. After all we are talking about one hell of a singer here! And there's no way that you could have kept her out of the main spotlight forever! Just in case you're in the dark I'm talking about Veronica "The V" Freeman releasing her own solo album. Yes, that's Veronica Freeman of Benedictum fame and here on "Now or Never" she's leaving the past behind and finally stepping up so that she can fulfill her true destiny. Veronica Freeman is a real, honest to goodness solo artist. In much the same way it took Doro leaving Warlock and both Joan Jett and Lita Ford stepping away The Runaways, Veronica Freeman has move beyond the band that helped make her a household name and finally come into her own. That is should she ultimately decide to take hold of the opportunity. All loyalties aside, "The V" (as Veronica is now known solo project) is simply too good to be held back by Benedictum. For her sake I do hope that she sees that. On the fittingly-titled "Now or Never" The V worked with various songwriters and a huge list of guest musicians in order to create a perfect solo outing. And really that's "Now or Never" in a nutshell. The V's solo debut is jam packed with great melodic hard rock songs that are well-written and proudly executed and there are more than a few numbers here that will ultimately get stuck in your head for ages! Other than the numbers "King For A Day"*, "Love Should Be To Blame"**, and "Again"**, "Now or Never" was produced by John Herrera and from that stand-point you simply can't go wrong! The production on "Now or Never" is top notch and everything falls into place nicely. Obviously Veronica is the album's main point of focus, but even as powerful and passionate as her voice is it never overshadows the album's instrumentation. That's a comforting thought given the (impressive) who's who list of guest musicians (see below) on "Now or Never"! To name just a few we have Michael Sweet (Stryper), Gary Bordonaro (The Rods), Jeff Pilson (Dio, Dokken, Foreigner, etc.), Jimmy Durkin (Dark Angel) and Mick Tucker (Tank). The album opens strong with "Again" and this fantastic number helps set up the disc's great title track and before long you release you've heard three killer cuts in a row by way of "Roller Coaster"! That said, "Now or Never" is really one good song after enough and although I do have my favorites ("Again", "Line In The Sand", "Love Should Be To Blame", "Kiss My Lips", "Spellbound", and "Below Zero") this is easily a album that you could listen to all the way through without every hitting "Skip"! As varied as the guests are on this album (Michael Sweet and Jimmy Durkin?) the music of "Now or Never" is actually fairly consistent. It's essentially hard rock/melodic heavy metal that's been maxed out by Grade A Rock and topped off by Veronica's sensational voice! I will say this. While Veronica Freeman has always been a great hard rock/melodic metal singer (she has the potential to be one of metal's all-time greats!) I really fell in love with her voice on "L.O.V.E." (no pun intended!). On this rock-steady track you will discover that all of a sudden Veronica has adopted the role of rock singer. Not a metal singer. No, she is a rock singer. As in rock and roll. And she is drop-dead sensational in this role! Could The V conquer heavy metal and rock? It's a good question and one that I'd like to ponder. Either way this upcoming album is a deal-breaker. The V needs to be doing her own thing and she should not let anyone hold her back. "Now or Never" is all the proof you need to make that judgment call and if you're a fan of Veronica then this CD will merely reaffirm what you already knew. 

*"King For A Day" was produced by Kenny Lewis.

**"Again" and "Love Should Be To Blame" were produced by Michael Sweet.

"Now or Never" Line-up:

Veronica Freeman – Lead Vocals

Leather Leone – Duet Vocals  on "Kiss my Lips"

Tony Martin - Duet Vocals on "King For A Day"

Meliesa McDonell- Additional vocals on "Starshine" & Acoustic Guitars
Pete Wells, Michael Sweet, Peter Tentindo, Jimmy Durkin, Mick Tucker, Jordan Ziff, and Michael Harris  – Guitars

 Jeff Pilson, Mel Brown, Garry Bordonaro, Aric Avina, John O’Boyle & Mike Lepond- Bass

Derek Kerswill- Drums

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