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On disc: Balance

Equilibrium - Claudia Ehrhardt - 9 stars


(Frontiers - 2009)

When I first came across Balance it was in the early 80's and I heard them at BFBS - I think it was Tommy Vance's Friday Rock Show... Probably Tony Jasper's HM Show... It definitely was On My Honor off In For The Count which hooked me up. Later I'll listen to the vinyl, I think... An album I pick up once in awhile and which I still enjoy!
Anyway, Balance started in the late 70's and especially guitarist Bob Kulick later became famous due to his work with Kiss. In 1981 their debut was released and In For The Count followed in 1982. That album could have made them as successful as bands like Journey, Foreigner and Survivor, but due to a lack of promotion they didn't get recognized by many rock fans. Keyboarder Doug Katsaros, singer Peppy Castro and guitarist Bob Kulick were active through the years and the threesome stayed in touch. Now they are back with a new album - thanks to Frontiers!
They kick off into an authentic 80's rock album with Twist Of Faith - and it seems it was a twist of faith what happened after In For The Count and what got them back together as Balance now. The opener is an up-tempo rocker with a positive vibe, great guitar play and emotional vocals - and a catchy hook! At Breathe they are more pop rock, but it's mainly Doug Katsaros' keyboard which adds a pop touch to the tune. The keyboard reminds me a bit of old Asia, but hey, Geoff Downes is an incredible keyboarder - and classically trained Doug Katsaros can easily keep up with him. Heavy riffs dominate the straight rocker Old Friends which is a real treat for Foreigner fans. The up-tempo stadium rocker What Have U Done is pure fun! Let them carry you away with Winner Takes All - a balladesque tune with power and feeling. They show their heavy side with Crazy Little Suzie, a track heavier then I expected Balance to be... But also with a catchy refrain. They can still surprise you! A heavy rocker with heart and soul is Who You Gonna Love - my favorite one at Equilibrium! Even if it has a slight pop appeal, but it also has a singing guitar. A happy up-tempo pop rock tune is Forever. Singer Peppy Castro's voice transports emotions and gives every song the final touch. They end the album with Where The Rainbows End - a song which reminds me a lot of Lou Gramm's stuff. But there is something else.... Anyway, it's fun! The album was produced by Bob Kulick and drummer Brett Chasson co-produced, and they give it the authentic 80's sound. The CD has the warm sound of analog recordings, something so many albums these days lack. Well done!
Everybody who is still listening to the early 80's rock albums these days, should check Balance out! This is pure 80's rock with great melodies, awesome guitar play and catchy hooks! One last thing, I might be a bit nostalgic here and so get a little higher rating... But I think everybody who is still listening to old friends like Foreigner, R.E.O. Speedwagon, Journey, etc. is a bit nostalgic! ;)

9 stars

Claudia Ehrhardt


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