Joel Hoekstra has been around for a quite a long time, as a solo performer and as guitarist with Night Ranger and most recently, being a part of the Trans Siberian Orchestra, however recent events, mainly getting the gig with Whitesnake for their “The Purple Album” has seen him thrust into the spotlight.
As it happens Joel had been working on his most ambitious solo album yet, so things fell together nicely for him.
What impresses me the most, is the sheer depth of quality on this record, we have Jeff Scott Soto (Journey/Yngwie Malmsteen) and Russell Allen (Adrenaline Mob/Symphony X) to take on lead vocal slots, we also have a massive rhythm section in the shape of Vinny Appice ,Black Sabbath/Dio, on Drums and Tony Franklin The Firm/Blue Murder on bass. Add into that potent mix special guests like Derek Sherinian and Toby Hitchcock and you really can’t go wrong.
Opening up with the massive ‘Say Goodbye To The Sun’, with Russell Allen on vocals, this record kicks off hard and heavy, far more than I expected, which isn’t such a bad thing, more aggressive than any Whitesnake song, yet still carrying that 80’s vibe.
What follows next is nothing short of amazing; Joel Hoekstra is all over these songs with massive riffs and soaring solo’s. Jeff Scott Soto’s first appearance is on the melodic rocker ‘Until I Left You’, a song he revels in. ‘Never Say Never’ surprises with a nifty acoustic passage.
‘Scream’has some tasty keyboard work from Derek Sherinian, while a great deal of interplay with Joel really lifts this track.
‘What We Believe’ is a superb duet between Jeff Scott Soto and fellow Trans Siberian Orchestra member Chole Lowery. One of the best tracks on the record.
There is not one bad song on here, and is certainly up there as one of my top 10 melodic hard rock releases of the year so far.
01. Say Goodbye To The Sun
03. Until I Left You
04. Long For The Days
06. Never Say Never
08. The Only Way To Go
09. Dying To Live
10. Start Again
11. What We Believe
12. Kill or Be Killed (Bonus Track digital download)
Joel Hoekstra (Whitesnake) – Guitars, Backing Vocals
Jeff Scott Soto (Journey, Yngwie Malmsteen) – Lead Vocals, Backing Vocals
Russell Allen (Adrenaline Mob, Symphony X) – Lead Vocals, Backing Vocals
Vinny Appice (Black Sabbath, Dio) – Drums
Tony Franklin (The Firm, Blue Murder) – Bass
Special Guest Musicians:
Derek Sherinian (Dream Theater, Black Country Communion) – Keyboards
Chloe Lowery (Trans Siberian Orchestra) – Vocals
Toby Hitchcock (Pride of Lions) – Additional Backing Vocals
Charlie Zeleny (Joe Lynn Turner) – Percussion
Dave Eggar (Amy Lee, Coldplay) – Cello
For more information on Joel Hoekstra click