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TERRA NOVA Come Alive Frontiers Records (2010)

Terra Nova

Back in 1997, just when the underground melodic rock scene was picking up, Terra Nova were one of the heroes of that year's Gods festival. These little known Dutchmen with dodgy fashion sense won over the crowd with tracks from their 'Livin it Up' and 'Break Away' albums and a performance that mixed Scandinavian AOR with a Van Halen-esque sparkiness.

Their career since has been intermittent, but after a 2005 album, 'Escape', they are back again with a new album. The press release trumpets the return to a sound and the line-up of 'Livin' It Up', but as so often such hype will just set the listener up for disappointment.

This is a new, more mature version of Terra Nova, but at the expense of their old sense of fun. Some songs, 'Fighting Yourself' and 'My Own Way', retain the Scandi style AOR sound (yes, I know Holland is not part of Scandinavia!) , reminding me of the likes of Street Talk, Skagarack and Alien.

Other songs like 'Here Comes the Night' take the band in the super smooth direction of Raised On Radio era Journey or Toto, with closing ballad 'The Final Curtain' having a distinct whiff of Journey's 'Faithfully'. At other times ('Under Pressure', and 'Do Or Die', with some prominent Hammond organ) they seem to be going for a more seventies, almost progressive, feel.

However the biggest disappointment is that the bouncy hooks and choruses that used to be their trademark seem almost totally missing.

Whether this is due to a deliberate change of direction, or an inability to write good tunes any more, it is frustrating and as a result there is little to lift this album above the average.


Review by Andy Nathan


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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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