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Sunstorm - 'Emotional Fire' (frontiers) 3/5

This is the third studio album from Sunstorm, the latest project from former Rainbow / Deep Purple frontman Joe Lynn Turner, a guy who was perhaps one of the the most distinctive voices of the 1980's. Now I was a huge Rainbow fan back in the day, and whilst I did tend to prefer the Dio fronted version of Blackmores boys, Mr Turner did much to win me over, especially on the Straight Between The Eyes album, and I even like that album he did with Purple. So whats this one like then?

Well I'll confess that I'm finding this one enjoyable rather than mindblowing. This is nothing to do with Mr Turners vocals, his power, range and distinctive inflections are all still here and just as engaging as they were back in the early 80's. However the rest of Sunstorm are most definitely not Rainbow, they do try and in a few places such as tracks like The Higher Your Rise and Torn In Half they almost succeed in invoking the ghost of the Difficult to Cure album, but a lot of the rest of this album sounds a little like a Journey or Foreigner tribute band. Thats not to say this record isn't well played and produced by talented musicians, it's just that I've always preferred to hear Mr Turner when he leans on it a bit and belts them out, but on many of the songs on offer here, such as Emily, Follow Your Heart and Lay Down In Your Arms Sunstorm tend to be content to cruise along in AOR safe mode and as a result Mr Turner never gets out of third gear and his power and talent is a little wasted. The result is to me at least a fair bit of listener frustration, I know Sunstorm are a good band, I just wish they would lean on it a bit more and give Mr Turner some good old school rock he can really get his throat around.

Still, this is an old 80's headbanger talking, and I'm sure stadium rock nuts will find a lot here to satisfy them. Horses for courses and all that.

Competent, but nothing too special

For fans of.... Journey, Foreigner, House Of Lords, Work Of Art, Mecca.....

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