by Alexandra Mrozowska
— Sr. Columnist —
Although it can’t be stated yet that the music industry relies on high-profile reunions more than it does on new and upcoming artists, the familiar names and familiar style of their collaboration are always successful at drawing people’s attention. Perhaps in the future, there will be more newly founded projects involving past collaborators than the new regular bands, as the former seem to spring up like mushrooms these days. One of those projects – Eisley/Goldy – marks the renewal of collaboration between the singer David Glen Eisley and the guitarist Craig Goldy. As everyone into Melodic Hard Rock knows, the two were bandmates in Giuffria in the mid-‘80s – perhaps less known was their joint effort under the moniker of Craig Goldy’s Ritual back in 1991. The result of their recent artistic reunion was released this year by Frontiers Records, titled Blood, Guts And Games.
The album’s first track “The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter” might not have the appeal of a perfectly infectious opener that “Do Me Right” off Giuffria’s self-titled debut had. Still, there is something about the former that brings the latter to mind – and it’s something more than the massive keyboards. More expressive than its predecessor in terms of vocal delivery, “I Don’t Belong Here Anymore” is also more guitar-oriented music-wise, a piece of ornate shredding that is unmistakably ‘80s in style. Also “No More Prayers In The Night” follows the old school of AOR as far as the song structure is concerned. About a minute into the song, the mild choral intro morphs into a groovy midtempo with powerful choruses and great guitar work. “Soul Of Madness” is a fine piece of Pomp Rock (pomp being the key word here), and “Believe In One Another” is a neat ballad-esque final touch to the album.
Gravitating towards heavier territory with their intensity and guitar-driven feistiness, “Love Of The Game” and “Wings Of A Hurricane” are the album’s highlights. An occasional Zeppelin-esque touch added to the former and the slightly bluesy feeling of the latter are just an icing on the cake. Perhaps this is where the Eisley/Goldy project should head towards musically in the future, as the slightly tougher and more straightforward sound seems to suit them better than relatively unremarkable, mild AOR pieces such as “Lies I Can Live With.”
The collaboration between the two former Giuffria musicians brings the inevitable comparisons to the table. This is something both David Glen Eisley and Craig Goldy must have been perfectly aware of – at least guessing by the stylistic choices behind Blood, Guts And Games. Picking up almost exactly where Giuffria left off and with only a slight modern tweak, the new album creates a convincing illusion that the former band of Eisley and Goldy never really disbanded. For the fans, it can even serve as a satisfying replacement for the band’s long-lost and partially shelved third album. Perhaps Eisley’s vocals are a bit more strained at times than it was back in his best of days, but all the other elements are in place, including solid songwriting and Craig Goldy’s drastically underrated yet always impressive guitar playing. And while Blood, Guts And Games may not be the opus magnum of both artists’ respective catalogs, it’s surely an album worth listening.
Genre: Melodic Hard Rock
Craig Goldy: Guitars & Lead Guitars, Keyboards & Bass
David Glen Eisley: All Lead & Background Vocals, additional Guitars, Keyboards, Piano, Bass, Hammond
Ron Wikso: Drums
1. The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter
2. I Don’t Belong Here Anymore
3. Lies I Can Live With
4. No More Prayers In The Night
5. Love Of The Game
6. Wings Of A Hurricane
7. Life, “If Only A Memory”
8. Soul Of Madness
9. Track Thirteen
10. Believe In One Another
Label: Frontiers Records
Hardrock Haven rating: (7 / 10)