Anderson, Andre - Black On Black

Year of Release: 2002
Label: Frontiers
Catalog Number: FRCD114
Format: CD
Total Time: 45:59:00

Andre Andersen began his career as a classical pianist; since then, he has been the main driving force behind acclaimed progrockers Royal Hunt, as well as creating a successful solo career. In his solo albums, we see somewhat of a combination between his roots and his rock calling. Sophisticated neoclassical elements blend seamlessly with hard, contemporary rock, producing a superior work which appeals on many levels.

Assisting Andre in Black On Black are Ian Parry and Kenny Lubcke on vocals (lead and backing, respectively), Rene Rieland on lead guitar, and Kaj Laege on drums. The multi-disciplinary Andre takes the position of backing guitars, bass, and keyboards. As with others of his solo projects, he also includes some truly beautiful cello work, supplied by Soma Allpas. All musicians involved are superb, particularly Parry, who has had an illustrious career of his own - lead singer with Elegy and Hammerhead, releasing his own solo Consortium Project, and appearing in guest spots with several other leading musicians.

One of the definite strengths here is the outstanding songwriting. It mixes a certain toe-tapping catchiness with absorbing complexity, right from the opener. The music is spot-on, technically perfect, the interaction between the musicians is tight and disciplined, and the rhythms throughout are just so right I couldn't help enjoying it immediately.

We begin with a couple of rockier songs, the infectious "Coming Home" and "Tell Me Why." Ian Parry really shines in the position of lead vocalist, with a combination of full-throated operatic showmanship and gravelly gutsiness. He reminds me a little of Mark Boals in his best moments, or perhaps even Ronnie James Dio. "Arena," the album's first of two instrumentals, features complex classical passages on keyboard and guitar, racing over the top of chugging, heavy riffs; this leads into "Desperate Times," an intense, soulful metal ballad with hard, slow rhythms. It is also here that we have our first appearance by the cellist, who plays the song to its finish.

I feel the next track, "Life," is possibly one of the weaker pieces in Black On Black, though that's just compared to the rest of the album - it's still a damn great song. It's definitely saved about three-quarters of the through by what is probably Andersen's most enjoyable keyboard solo on the whole disc. The bitter, ballsy title track follows, and then leads into what is my favourite piece of the lot - the second instrumental, "Eclipse." For the first section, it is a tearfully gorgeous duet between Allpas on cello and Anderson on keyboards; Rieland's guitars take over from the cellist to create yet more flawless blending of classical and metal. We are led out by two more strong rock pieces, "Sail Away" and "Piece Of My Heart."

There's so much talent here, but I don't know if I can do it any more justice in this review. I'd definitely recommend this to fans of Andre's other work, mainly Royal Hunt. And to those who, like me, have a classical collection about as big as your rock/metal one and yearn for a marriage between the two, don't hesitate before checking this one out. Andersen is a master of both disciplines and brings them both to bear on this extremely solid release.

[This review originally appeared June 2003 at the ProgPower Online review site -ed.]
Coming Home / Tell Me Why / Arena / Desperate Times / Life / Black On Black / Eclipse / Sail Away / Piece Of My Heart

Andre Andersen - keyboards, guitar, bass
Ian Parry - vocals
Kenny Lubcke - backing vocals
Rene Rieland - guitar
Kaj Laege - drums
Soma Allpas - cello

1000 Miles Away (1998)
Changing Skin (1998)
In The Late Hour (single) (1999)
Black On Black (2002)
Oceanview (2003)

Genre: Rock

Origin SE

Added: December 8th 2004
Reviewer: Karyn Hamilton
Artist website:
Hits: 999
Language: english


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