Rob Moratti

1. Life On The Line
2. Everything But Good Bye
3. Lifetime
4. Power Of Love
5. Hold That Light
6. On And On
7. Take It All Back
8. I Promise You
9. Standing On The Top Of The World
10. Jennie
11. Now More Than Ever

Rob Moratti (Vocals)

Desolation (1995)
Legends of Tomorrow (1997)

Reb Beach (Guitars)
Christian Wolff (Guitars & Keyboards)
Tony Franklin (Bass)
Fredrik Bergh (Keyboards)
Brian Doerner (Drums)

Produced by Rob Moratti
Mixed by Richard Chycki

Released 24/6-2011
Reviewed 5/10-2011

escape music

In more or less every review of this album, people will tell you that Rob Moratti used to be the frontman of the classic Canadian prog. rock band Saga and that his voice is a pillar within this kind of music, despite the fact that Moratti only sung on one studio album and one live album before leaving room for the return of Sagas original vocalist. Moratti himself is otherwise mostly known for his presence in the band Final Frontier, a band that I somewhat expect you not to know about unless you're really interested in progressive rock and AOR. Beside this Moratti also done two albums with his solo project, called Moratti, and we're not taking any credit away from the fact that he has been the former vocalist of Saga, regardless of how short his presence was and misleading it might seem.

As the fire burned Moratti in Saga and Rob left way for returning Michael Sadler he started to focus on another solo project. The result can be found in 'Victory'. Now I've played this album for months and I can't really manage it to stick to me in the super glue fashion. What I feel is that I can't join in with the superlative reviews Moratti has shared with us on his website, consisting solely of nice words and grades above 9/10 (or 90/100). Where words like "classic voice" and "one of the best vocalists out there" struggle to be noticed. Now, 'Victory' is by no meeds a bad album, but just like big brother Daniel described it a couple of weeks ago in a review there's just no possibility for all these AOR albums that's been getting such words this year to actually be that "immortal" and "fantastic" as they're described as. Or to be on the lists of top albums of the year (and frankly, i feel it's quite unfair to the band to praise them like that if they later don't end up on such lists and regularly are referred to by the reviewer as a milestone in its genre). There's just not room for every album to be that and no one can possibly find ALL of them as personal favorites that will stay with them for the rest of their life. So as I've been saying already with quite a few of these "fantastic" AOR-albums released this year, 'Victory' is an album that sounds good, but I don't see it as that masterpiece it's suppose to be along with all the other albums released in this genre 2011.

Moratti himself is a good vocalist, we find his range high above the roof beams and his tone is clean and clear as if he'd polished it with vanish Oxi Action. Personally though, I think his voice lacks that real charm and character. His tone is close to nasal without actually being that and I think he sounds pretty much as Eros Ramazzotti doing rock music. In English. The music on the album is pretty "normal" AOR mixed with a pinch of progressive rock. It's good but not overly exciting. Most of the time it's guitar driven music and it has been enriched with some keyboardswhich makes it feels quite interesting for most of the time. The guitars do these mini-solos and break out in to virtuosity show-offs pretty much all the time. It's good but not fantastic. Good but not best. Nice, but no masterpiece.

We find eleven songs on 'Victory' and many of the titles are quite alarmingly recognizable - songs like Life On The Line, Hold That Light and Jennie, to mention a few. Then we have those songs that goes without discussion on an album like this - the power ballads, as well as those real rockers. Otherwise it's mostly mid-tempo, the way it often is (songs that sounds good on album, all though not properly working as singles) as well as a few radio friendly singles. This is a traditional album construction, the way we've used to hear it from Toto, Journey or any else of the giants within this genre. Maybe you find that negative or condescending, but actually that's a big compliment. If you are to do AOR by the book, why not look at how those who apparently know how to do it has done it.

Despite my impression being less optimistic than tens out of tens (and as close to that as is possible), I still find this album being well made and I see no point in arguing against that Mr Moratti has done a good album. The question is how good this album really is. And here is where even the most clever reviewers twist, but if you're asking me I see the biggest issue with this album being Mr Moratti himself. It's not his music or his musicians or the songs. But I don't really give anything for his voice. Sure he can sing but it can't reach me… and actually it annoys me most of the time.

However, the overall impression is that all though it hardly changes AOR music or replace any of the already established "classics" it's still a really good AOR album. It's high quality from start to finish and I don't want anyone to let my personal disliking for Mr Morattis voice stand in the way for anyone else to give 'Victory' a fair chance if you're fond of AOR. Because I actually encourage you to give it a try!


Label: Escape Music/Connecting Music
Three similar bands: Radioactive/Toto/Foreigner
Rating: HHHHHHH (5/7)
Reviewer: Caj Källmalm

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