HEAVEN sees Michele Luppi spreading his wings wide open and flying to solo frontiers. The Italian singer likes to keep himself busy, preferably at all times. Most of you know him as the latest vocalist in a well established Power Metal act called VISION DIVINE, his cover band MR. PIG is supposed to have a busy schedule as well, he has a studio where he obviously records other artists and has passed his skills onwards in various musical schools. Iím sure thereís tons of other musical assignments lying on his desk waiting to be done, HEAVEN is his most recent finished project, his solo album, an album he created all on his own plus covering other multiple roles such as sound engineer and the likes.
A highly ambitious individual, I respect this manís talents and whatever dreams he chooses to follow but Iím not much for the teenage crush sounds of AOR or Melodic Rock in general. I never liked JOURNEY or MR. BIG, that kind of stuff although I admit itís catchy as hell, thatís what this album sounds like, might as well throw in a bit of CHICAGO and TOTO. Releasing a good old fashioned album in this field would be pretty dull in 2005. To spice things up just a little the players are given some free space to add guitar and keyboard licks and other small progressive rolls and techniques which makes the whole affair a bit more, how shall I say, less fruity hehe.
The album is played perfectly (the manís got lots of great musicians behind him), thereīs nothing wrong with the sound production, Luppi is one heck of a singer, heís got range, passion, feel and stamina, thereís nothing wrong with this album except me and my tastes in musicÖ and well, the songs, while well organised and well played, are not that special.
I learned that all AOR hits are built from the chorus, you nail the chorus to the point where you are satisfied then start to work on the two/three arrangements thatíll lead to that very same chorus doomed to be repeated at least four or five times in the closing minutes. Itís no different with HEAVEN, choruses are bound to be memorised cause there so damn catchy and colourful but youíll hardly recognise half of the songs due to the emphasis laid on said legendary AOR element.
ďStriveĒ is a great album, that is if I project myself into the state of an AOR/Melodic Rock fan. Seriously, itís an accomplished effort with the ďmust haveĒ characteristics and some small experiments tempos outside the genre, end of review! (Online November 9, 2005)