Monday, November 16, 2015

John Dallas– Wild Life

Street Symphonies Records

"Wild Life" (which just came out last month and sport's a fantastic title-track!) is the full-length debut album from Italian hard rock singer/musician John Dallas* (aka Luca Stanzani). This 9-track recording also serves as the first solo offering for this veteran vocalist and it was laid to tape at Boat Studio's in Luca's birthplace of Bologna, Italy. Having teamed up with some anonymous studio musicians (and with Danger Zone's one and only guitarist Roberto Priori eventually mastering the whole affair!) this Italian vocalist actually self-recorded  "Wild Life" before he even had a record label to release it! Eventually Street Symphonies Records came knocking and it's really no wonder given the strength of the material at hand. With "Wild Life" Luca has crafted a worthwhile release that pays homage to it's creator's influences (Guns N' Roses, Van Halen, Def Leppard, Queensrÿche, Hardcore Superstar, and H.E.A.T. to name just a few) while stepping out onto it's own path of self-discovery and awareness! While it's technically not as heavy as some of those influences might suggest, "Wild Life" is nonetheless a heavy-rocking album that is somewhat modern in it's approach without losing the classic charm of old-fashioned hard rock. The album opens decently enough with the glam rock crunchy "Under Control"**. It's not the greatest thing in the world, but it gets the job done while it points towards the full potential of Luca's voice. Perhaps a better choice of opener would have been cut number two? That would be the rock-solid "Heaven Is". While I will admit to some level of frustration as far as coming up with an appropriate enough description of this terrifically awesome (gritty) metal number (early Guns N' Roses meets later day Avenged Sevenfold?) it does little to take away from the notion that it would have made a better opening moment. But, that's just an observation so let's move on to track number three. That would be "Falling". Even though "Falling" didn't exactly explode out the gate or anything it does get better as it rolls on. From there we move on to the sweet title track and then two tracks that proved to be favorites of mine, "Dreamin' On" and "Electric". Here's the thing though. Even if there are some songs that are clearly better than others there is seldom a dull moment on "Wild Life". The truth of the matter is all nine of the songs on "Wild Life" fall within the range of being  A+. Credit that to the songwriting as well as the apparent chemistry of all involved in the making of Luca's first solo outing. Quite obviously if I was pressed to name a few favorites it would be no chore at all. That would be tracks like the title cut, "Heaven Is", "Dreamin' On", "Electric", and "Love's Fake". But like I said even the "decent" cuts are good. Both "Psycho Game" and "Freedom" (a Bon Jovi meets Tesla kind of thing) have things to offer and they help make up the overall vibe of this LP. Admittedly things do get a little weird on the closing cut "Love's Fake". It has a Guns N' Roses meets Alice Cooper (by way of a more rock oriented N.I.N.!) feel going for it, but even it fits in with the overall theme of this album. And in the end I really liked this album. Seeing as this one is a heck of a debut release it will be interesting to see what John Dallas has in store when it comes time to record a follow-up. For now though be sure to catch this act live if you can. Something just tells me that John Dallas is not to be missed.

*A long-time member of the Bologna, Italy music scene (and a hell of a hard rock vocalist!) Luca Stanzani created the moniker John Dallas by combining Jon Bon Jovi first name and the eighties TV series, Dallas. 

**"Under Control" might not be as good as the some of the other tracks on "Wild Life", but even the so-so songs on this recording are well-written and cleverly-arranged! What that means is even the decent tracks on this one are really good! 

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