For thirty years or so STEVE WALSH has fronted legendary pomp US Rockers KANSAS and in that time the vocalist has amassed a considerable pedigree in the field of Rock music. His latest solo offering ‘’Shadowman’’ is his most hard hitting work to date and thankfully shows a musician keen not to rest on past laurels and break free from any restraints heaped on him from his full time job.
It is quite evident from the off that WALSH is eager to impress. Opening track ‘’Rise’’ borders on Metal with a scything riff from COLLECTIVE SOULS Joel Kosche and some top drumming from ex-TWISTED SISTER skinsman Joe Franco. A few commentators have remarked that WALSH may be losing his best asset: his voice but that can’t be further from the truth as the man is a singing master and on tracks like the serenely beautiful ballad ‘’Pages Of Old’’, the classy Hard Rock swagger of ‘’Shadowman’’ and the Rock N Roll belt of ‘’Hell Is Full Of Heroes’’ he turns in strong, emotive performances. Right out of the top drawer.
Although the aforementioned ‘’Rise’’ and ‘’Shadowman’’ contain Progressive elements and not forgetting the outstanding nine minute ‘’After’’ at it’s heart this album is Hard Rock monster. Fans of KANSAS and STREETS will be more than delighted by the likes of ‘’Davey And The Stone That Rolled Away’’ and the ZZ TOP infectious riffs and chops of ‘’Keep On Knockin’’’ with again some excellent guitar and drum is just the icing on the cake.
If you like quality Hard Rock music then this is an essential purchase. (Online September 27, 2005)