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SOUL DOCTOR Blood Runs Cold AOR Heaven (2007)

Soul Doctor

A fourth album of distinctly US styled hard rock from the Germany based band featuring the vocal talents of Tommy Hart alongside guitarist Chris Lyne and a rhythm section consisting of Jogy r**tenb**g on bass and Michael Wolpers on drums.

Launching with a superb opening couple of numbers, notably the title track initially strutting forth reminding you of the last Lynyrd Skynyrd album "Vicious Cycle", then "Temptation" hitting on a sound not too dissimilar to that achieved by the latter day incarnation of Bad Company circa "Holy Water". Stylish, classy and radio friendly there are also a couple of songs that should carry a warning of what can happen if exposed to too much of David Coverdale's output from his 'big hair' days. There's plenty of similarities to "Still Of The Night" with the stop/start staccato guitar in the verse of " F.A.F.O.D." whilst the excellent bluesy breakdown during "Touch Of Love" is adorned by Hart adding a few vocal Coverdale-isms for good measure.

After this though things take a distinctly more commercial turn with the remainder of the album bearing similarities more in line with early nineties Bon Jovi than anything else. "The Ocean" appears to be their own "Wanted Dead Or Alive" type number although I doubt rhyme seeking phrases such as "The ocean... it's like a magic potion" will ever rock anything like a million faces. Elsewhere "The Lie" treads similar ground to "Bad Medicine" and "Something For The Pain", "Justine" shows as the obligatory power ballad and "Revolution", whilst certainly a fine song in it's own right, manages to remind me of the old "These Days" era outtake "The End" also adding a bit of "Kashmir" style chugging guitar to boot.

In fact, it's the sort of song that has such a big, anthemic singalong chorus it wouldn't surprise me to hear it resurface as a reprise as the album closes. Sadly though this is not the case.

All in all a more than decent commercial hard rock album that you suspect would have been very well received if released in the late 80s or early 90s. There's not actually too much of this sort of stuff about nowadays. Let's face it even Bon Jovi don't do 'proper' Bon Jovi anymore, and this works in Soul Doctor's favour. Highly enjoyable even if it does lack originality which all bodes well for a scheduled UK live appearance at Firefest '08 in October.


Review by Bill Leslie

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***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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