Orianthi the Australian guitar sensation is back with her follow up to her 2009 album Believe titled Heaven In This Hell. Opening with wind noises and a spoken word intro about love, Orianthi screams into the title track ‘Heaven In This Hell’ and firmly puts her foot on the gas pedal marked rock and doesn’t let off till near the end of the track where she adds some tasteful acoustic guitar playing over the fading rocking title track. This track alone with its clear production from Eurythmics legend Dave Stewart clearly shows why Orianthi is such an exciting talent in today’s rock scene she can sing, write and most importantly play the ass off her PRS just as well if not better than most of the male players on the music scene. Following on from Heaven is ‘You Don’t Wanna Know’ a slightly slower but stomping track that really launches when Orianthi hits the solo break and brings it back with some nice banjo touches at the end.
Next up is the first single from the album ‘Fire’ with a Robert Johnson vibe about running away from the blues even though its Orianthi’s first love, with some nice violin touches from Ann Marie Calhoun. ‘If You Think You Know Me’ follows which is a song about the fans which I’m sure will be very well received when played live in concert. Orianthi slows the pace right down for the bluesy ‘How Do You Sleep’ with a lovely guitar intro over some gentle piano as she sings about getting hurt by a guy in a relationship and asking how he can sleep. Maybe the slowest track on the album but the lyrics and playing are very intense and would love to see this played in some small blues club.
When I first heard the opening to ‘Frozen’ I was immediately struck by Orianthi’s hammering on was the same as the late great Jimi Hendrix as there is a strong Hendrix vibe going on through this track, complemented with some nice harmonica playing from Jimmy Z who used to play with Dave Stewart in his Eurythmics days. ‘Rock‘ is in fact got a very country feel to it, written while on the road with Adam Lambert and featuring some nice lap steel playing from Dan Dugmore to reinforce the country feel to the song. ‘Another You‘ is a simple love song with some nice playing and a tasteful solo by Orianthi showing that everything doesn’t need to be played at 100 mph and the depth of her playing abilities.
‘How Does That Feel‘ opens with a jazzy/R&B feel to the song but don’t let that deceive you, as when the band kicks in halfway through this song about leaving someone and going back to her first love guitar playing it’s back to what this girl does best rocking. Next up we find Orianthi back in a hotel room an experience which happens a lot I’m sure for this globetrotting Aussie having a one night stand with some ‘Filthy Blues’. This track along with the title track are my favourites on the album as it stomps along with a combination of swamp blues and a touch of Hendrix psychedelia before breaking into a 12 string acoustic solo in the middle before returning to the stomping blues rhythm and fading out with a load of hammering on by Orianthi great stuff an very much my cup of tea. ‘If You Were Here With Me‘ closes the album on a melodic, mellow an hopeful note with some chilled out playing by both Orianthi and Tom Bukovac about the differences in love from the transient and fleeting pairings of the young to the lifelong and more permanent relationships as we grow older and wiser.
Heaven In This Hell is an exceptional recording showcasing the many talents of Ms Panagaris which have all been brought out by the excellent clean an clear production work by Dave Stewart at Music City’s Blackbird Studios, Nashville and can only help to reinforce her position as one of the most exciting players on the rock scene at the moment.
Heaven In This Hell will be released on Robo Records on the 11th of March and I give it a very well deserved 9/10.
- Orianthi Panagaris: Guitar, Bass, Banjo and Vocals
- Tom Bukovac: Guitar
- Dan Dugmore: Guitar, Lap Steel Guitar
- Michael Rhodes: Bass
- Chad Cromwell: Drums
- Jimmy Z: Harmonica
- Ann Marie Calhoun: Violin
- Heaven In This Hell
- You Don’t Wanna Know
- If You Think You Know Me
- How Do You Sleep?
- Another You
- How Does That Feel?
- Filthy Blues
- If You Were Here With Me