Review | Front Row Warriors – Wheel of Fortune
Rock of Angels Records
Catered by the many rave reviews on internet we as HBLS can’t stay behind and miss out on a new exciting band or release. Trying to uphold our own unique identity, we also follow the path of the masses, apparently, browsing the web for news and new exciting acts. Front Row Warriors is one of those, if we have to believe the many reviews. Their `Wheel of Fortune’ searched, I went on a quest to find out more. Front Row Warriors are a band following walking their own path.
Leaning on melodic rock and AOR, Front Row Warriors are front row in when it comes to melody. Their music is heavier than average AOR, but also packs the memorable hooks and melodies needed to bring forward the right dose of ear mingling structures.
Musically the band is blessed with strong performances from all players. The guitars are wonderful and playing at times spectacular with Sorin Badin’s solos towering fiercely. Adding the right rhythmic hooks, licks and harmonies, Stef Binning-Golub completes the tandem. Jay-G’s drumming is potently powerful, but it’s his fills making him a stand out force. Timo Michel’s bass is low and growling while Richie Seibel’s keyboards are pompous and powerful, frequently adding the right tone and density to inflate the band’s melodic catchy hooks.
But it is without doubt the vocal delivery of Elkie Gee that impress the most. She is the exclamation point behind Front Row Warriors’ music. Powerful, almost metallic, she belts between a raw and bluesy register and crystal-clear pitch. Wide and varied, she carries across the German legacy of Klaus Meine as the female counterpart. Even the light nasal accent is present!
HEAVY METAL WHIRL
From the opening intro ,,2022” and following ,,Chasing Shadows” onwards, the music is powerful melodic rock, deeply rooted in AOR, with an occasional heavier metal whirl twisted into melodic form. Working their way through a collection of well written songs, Front Row Warriors fly the flag of melodic rock high. The AOR-ish melodic ,,Fantastic” and ,,Hell Awaits” with Gee’s wailing vocals and ponderous powerful breaks are pristine, while ,,Love is Not a Game” display their creativity with intrinsic playing and warming vocal melodies. ,,Dystopian Times”, with its ominous opening, reveals the band’s deeper lyrical skills, straying from the mainstream content that is more cliché laden.
The song’s low crawl and dynamics add to the song’s darker appeal, with Gee adding a very versatile delivery full of swagger. Higher pitches, cleaner vocals are interchanged by raw and gutted vocals, injecting the right tone and mood. Keys swirl on top of the raw riffs, with low bass chords and melodies taking the front frequently.
Classic are ,,Deadly Sins” and the title track ,,Wheel of Fortune” with their turbulent drive, much like classic seventies acts, with Hammond added to spice it up, and the heavier more metallic ,,Hell Invaders”, packing a low-end growling bass and Elkie switching between her heavier clean register and Jutta Weinhold fierceness.
Ever since the band pitched the pace on ,,Deadly Sins”, it is a nice treat seeing them return to their most melodic format with the nesting double kicked ,,The Hunter”. The song’s nesting melody and powerful drum dynamics run towards “Wasted Life” as the album closer. The song is the mandatory ballad, colored with rich guitars and droning bass, stripped to the bear essence. Elkie channels her agony and vocals straight to the listeners, before the song starts powering up for the chorus. With 6:37 it is the longest song on the album full of dramatic changes.
Shifting shape midway, the song reveals the band’s top-notch marksmanship before delving into a section that is reminiscent to Queensrÿche’s ,,Suit Sister Mary” with its laden drama. Gee even hits the wail of Pamela Moore over a short fling of the Rÿche’s pompous grandeur (4:45) pitching the song into its Grand finale before scaling back into the timid origins that features ,,Silent Lucidity” laurels.
FRONT ROW WARRIORS – THE CONCLUSION
Front Row Warriors is one of those bands that make 2023 go out with a bang. Great musical delivery and skilled song writing carry across the right melodies to make it all work. Blessed with a great vocalist, the band will create waves the coming years if they widen their musical scope. `Wheel of Fortune’ is a wonderful introduction to the band and it raises expectations for their future endeavours.
Solid, with excellent moments by the dozens!
Release date: 9 June 2023