Jackson, Ben - Here I Come

Year of Release: 2001
Label: Jaxhammer Records
Catalog Number: n/a
Format: CD
Total Time: 51:08:00

Listening to Ben Jackson's Here I Come took me back to those wild and crazy days of the early 80s -- when hair metal took over the airwaves. You know, Motley Crüe, Poison, etc. The strutting cockiness and frank sexuality (and sexism) is alive and well in Jackson. And while there may have been a song or two that struck me about those mentioned above, it was otherwise lost on me. Maybe because I wasn't an adolescent male, which I don't see as a deficiency on my part. All this 80s-ness is typified in the opening track "Feel Me," which does at times get a Led Zeppelin grove to it. Yeh, somehow Zep's strutting cockiness and frank sexuality doesn't strike me in the same way as the 80s bands did. In other words, I like Zep. Poison is the strongest comparison here, as Jackson as a vocalist sounds like Bret Michaels.

I have to admit to some disappointment in that this isn't a guitar album, per se. I mean, sure Jackson plays leads, but I was expecting (not having checked out the album's booklet before listening) something a la Steve Morse or something. Instrumental guitar pieces.

In doing the usual research for the review - for discographies mainly -- I came across a review published at the [now defunct] Progpower Online magazine that clued me into who Ben Jackson is - guitarist/ex-guitarist/guitarist again for Crimson Glory. This explains his thank yous, since this doesn't sound like CG at all; at least my impression of them. Peter Fundeis in his review [now found here] does mention the Strange and Beautiful release, which he notes that Jackson wasn't a part of.

Anyway, my thoughts on this album. "To My Surprise" is the cheerful, love song...though a line like "The last time I saw you I turned around / I froze in the deepest stare / and I just wanted to throw you on the ground / right then and there." Oooh, how romantic. "The Bold One" sounds very much like Aerosmith's "Walk This Way" crossed with The Black Crowe's rendition of "Hard To Handle."

One of the tracks that I do like is the mellow title track, "Here I Come." It is that slow build countrified rock - the kind of track that was the departure from the norm, with acoustic elements and thoughtful lyrics. Maybe because I've been listening to them, but strangely I thought of Spock's Beard. Jackson here sounds a little bit like Neal Morse, though a little more...whiney... Yeh, a bit like "June," I guess in feel. It's one of the few songs not about sex. Not about romance, mind you. Sex. He may profess love, but we all know what he really means. It's lip service. Or perhaps I'm just overly cynical.

"Flesh & Blood" is the instrumental, that sounds a bit like the intro to a Images & Words period Dream Theater piece, though Jackson's steel strings and the way he's playing them, makes me think of Craig Chaquico. Taking that into consideration and what I said about the rest of the album, you'd think this might be my favourite track on the album. Well, no. There's something missing from it... an oddly elongated space in the overall rhythm. Like some instrument that was going to fill that space was left out of the mix, which makes the track seem unbalanced. I do like the guitar solo from Jackson. Hmm... I think the bass needed just a little bit more presence in the mix. While I like soft -- comparing this to fabric, think of soft velour -- this is just a little too soft.

The "message" song is "The Bomb" -- I thought of a better produced Rick Ray with a slight 80s metal spin. This has a metal edge to it that steers it away from the hair metal of the rest of the album. Yeh, here Metallica are a touchstone. Another one of the better pieces on the album for it. There's some meat on the bones here, some heft to the music. "Flesh & Blood" needed this kind of oomph behind it. Another highlight is the closing track "Whistle In The Wind." Darkly themed and toned, it puts dual guitars up front, grinding out the main rhythm.

I'm not going knock this album entirely. For what it is, it sounds good. Dated, but good. Jackson is a really good guitarist, so this doesn't disappoint in the chops department. The rest of the Ben Jackson group are Rich Tabor on drums and percussion and John Bajas on guitar. Jackson plays bass here as well. There are guests, as well -- Wade Black on vocals and Jeff Lords on bass on "The Bomb," Duane Freeman on sax on "Closer To Soul" (one best parts of that track), and Thomas Youngblood (Kamelot) and Jesse (Martillo) Rojas contributing hand claps on "Here I Come," Rojas also plays percussion on "Whistle In The Wind" (a track composed by Bajas).

So, of eleven tracks, I say verily, more of the kind of stuff found in "The Bomb," "Here I Come," and "Whistle In The Wind."

Feel Me (5:13) / To My Surprise (4:45) / Closer To Soul (5:37) / The Bold One (4:08) / Here I Come (4:55) / Touched (5:38) / Misty Rain (3:51) / Your World Or Mine (3:44) / Flesh And Blood (4:14) / The Bomb (3:48) / Whistle In The Wind (5:11)

Ben Jackson - guitar, vocals, bass
Rich Tabor- drums & percussion
John Bajas- guitar (3, 10, 11)


Wade Black - vocal trades (10)
Jeff Lords - bass (10)
Duane Freeman - sax (3)
Thomas Youngblood - hand claps (5)
Jesse (Martillo) Rojas - hand claps (5), percussion (11)

Crimson Glory - Crimson Glory (1986)
Crimson Glory - Transcendence (1988)
Crimson Glory - Astronomica (1999)
Parish - Envision (1995)
Here I Come (2001)
All Over You (2005)

Genre: Melodic Metal

Origin US

Added: October 13th 2002
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website: www.benjacksongroup.com
Hits: 786
Language: english


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