Driver formed from the ashes of M.A.R.S. (A “supergroup” consisting of guitarist Tony MacAlpine, drummer Tommy Aldridge, singer Rob Rock and bassist Rudy Sarzo), who released a 5 song demo EP that never really got the recognition it deserved.
The band split and Rob Rock went on to record with Joshua, Impellitteri, Axel Rudi Pell, Avantasia, to name but a few.
Then in 2008 the Rob Rock and Roy Z (Driver-original guitarst ) thought it was time to resurrect Driver and recruited original drummer ‘Butch’ Carlson and completed the line-up with Aaron Samson (George Lynch) on bass and Ed Roth (Impellitteri, Glenn Hughes) on keys.
The result was the ‘Sons Of Thunder’ album, and what a susprise that was, taking the melodic metal genre by storm.
Fast forward to 2012 and Driver have just released ‘Countdown’. A collection of brand new material, and several rescued-from-the-vaults demo’s.
Driver are back with another slab of modern day “80’s Melodic Metal/hard rock. Rob Rock, as ever is on fine form, and Roy Z chugs out some seriously heavy riffs and really let’s rip with some soaring solo’s. The overall feel to this release is late 80’s metal, if not a little heavier in parts, this album simply motors along with no real let up, tracks like ‘Hollywood Shooting Star’ leave a memorable chorus firmly implanted in your head, all the tracks are guitar driven, and that isn’t such a bad thing, it is what we have come to expect from this band. There’s enough speed and riffage on this album to please the Melodic Metal fan, however Robs vocal style is such that the tracks could quite easily enter melodic rock territory. Roy Z playing however keeps Driver firmly in the Melodic Metal camp.
One of the best tracks on this cd however, is the European Bonus Track, ‘Babylon’, I think this is outstanding; Roy Z simply rips this song apart with his playing.
Why this track can’t be part of the general release, only Driver and the record label know. In my opinion they would have been better off including the original demos for ‘Destiny”, “Thief in the Night” and “Always in my Mind” as bonus tracks.
So in conclusion, if you liked the debut or just consider yourself a fan of 80s US styled melodic metal, then you can’t really go wrong adding this to your collection, Driver step it up a gear and deliver a knockout blow with Countdown. 8/10
01. Return To The Sky
02. Rising Son
04. Hollywood Shooting Star
05. Thief In The Night
06. Cry Of The Wounded
07. Always On My Mind
08. Feel The Fire
10. Running From The Darkness
11. Babylon (European Bonus Track)
Rob Rock, Vocals.
Roy Z, Guitars
Aaron Samson, Bass Guitar
Ed Roth, Keyboards
Reynold ‘Butch’ Carlson, Drums.