RAMOS - another Californian newcomer in Melodic Rock. Somehow this particular style does seem to have a limit for how many bands can hail from the same region. But lo, RAMOS is not just another newcomer in the scene! Why? Well, because we have a string of well known names from other, partly very well known bands: Guitarist Josh Ramos (THE STORM, HARDLINE, TWO FIRES), singer Mark Weitz (MALICE, EYES, ODIN), keyboarder Michael T. Ross (HARDLINE, ACCOMPLICE), drummer Atma Anur (lots) and as guest baser on two tracks Stu Hamm of MICHAEL SCHENKER GROUP and Joe Satriani fame. So a quite illustrious bunch that has found together for "Living In The Light".
Musically the sextet has found a home in the Melodic Rock of the JOURNEY/THE STORM category and also Mark Weitz' voice more than once resembles the greats of the genre (especially the mentioned two bands come to my mind), that the whole undertaking also has musical class is not necessarily logical, but in the case of RAMOS definitely given.
Set into the right powerful and clear sound by none other than Kelly Hansen, RAMOS do not bring us anything groundbreakingly new, but the quality that they show in their songs does leave little to be left desired for the genre fan. Of course the heaviness and also complexity are rather limited, but Ramos' guitar always stands in the foreground, while the keyboards are only used for accentuation and never push into the center or just produce a sound carpet. The song is in the focus, with all its catchiness and also class.
It doesn't matter, if you take serious Melodic Rockers like "Living In The Light", Hard Rock influenced a la "Seize The Day" or great ballads of the likes of "The Dream Is Alive" and "Love Is The Magic" (very good), or also the excellent "Come Back To Me", the compositions sound mature, but not overtly like routine, they have pep and somehow everything fits together, contrary to their labelmates of BURNS BLUE, where something did not fully ignite.
"Living In The Light" is one of those Melodic Rock albums, which you put into the player and just enjoy, quite a bit in fact. Sure it is a genre, which hardly brings anything new anymore, if at all, but then it depends on well written and played songs, which have the certain something and of those we find quite bunch on "Living In The Light". Melodic Rock fans, get this one! (Online September 16, 2003)