A destination set to somewhere.
Some might cling to the notion that old dogs can’t learn new tricks, but if Graham Bonnet’s career over the past couple decades is any indication, it’s a rule that doesn’t enjoy universal applications. Though he original cut his teeth in the psychedelic-steeped world of late 60s rock with his cousin Trevor Gordon in the duo The Marbles, featuring a collaborative effort with the Bee Gees no less, Graham’s boisterous and soaring tenor seemed predestined to harder and heavier sonic territory. His subsequent and short tenure with Ritchie Blackmore in Rainbow following the departure of Ronnie James Dio would cement him as a formidable stage presence in a time when the ante was constantly being upped in terms of rock’s stylistic and virtuosic possibilities, and would find him being connected to the rise of iconic Neo-classical metal maestro himself Yngwie Malmsteen via Alcatrazz. It goes without saying that these highly consequential moments in Bonnet’s career have continued to shape his work, included the relatively new project bearing his name.
Though a relatively young project, Graham Bonnet Band brings a wealth of experience and credibility to the table that rivals most super groups, and their latest studio LP “Day Out Of Nowhere” presents the third installment in an impressive hat trick of metallic bluster and melodic brilliance that rounds out the outfit’s discography. Guided by the flashy riffing and technical shred work of Brazilian guitarist and former P.U.S. axe-man Conrado Pesinato and newly acquired keyboardist of the Italian progressive metal act Aphelion Alessandro Bertoni, the auditory template that is established is comparable to the glory days of Alcatrazz circa 1983-1985, yet also possessed of a slightly darker and heavier affectation that reflects more current conventions in rock and metal. Much of this owes to the engineering work of Brendan Duffy, who has been a fixture in metal circles for quite some time, though one would be remiss not to note the steady foundation provided by bassist Beth Ami–Heavenstone and an ensemble of noteworthy drummers.
But even more prominent than the instrumental mastery on display is the sense of eclecticism that permeates each of these eleven sonic chapters. Striking a highly animated tone at the album’s onset is the riff happy rocker “Imposter”, showcasing the capability of Pesinato to inject a slightly Nevermore-like set of progressive metal twists into a heavily Deep Purple-informed anthem. Likewise, the speed-infused “The Sky Is Alive” takes a road similar to the faster offerings out of 80s Alcatrazz and lays a richly harmonic riff set over top that almost could have been lifted off “Enemies Of Reality”. The dank character of these songs is given an extra boost by a few auspicious names in the modern metal world offering their services in a guest capacity, with the steady rocking banger “Brave New World” getting an injection of attitude by guitarist and producer Roy Z, while the thrashing brilliance of “Jester” sees the man himself Jeff Loomis taking the Bonnet brand into territory darker and heavier than anything it’s seen thus far, and Graham himself sports a grimly dramatic version of himself that rings dangerously close to the dearly departed Warrel Dane.
There’s a bit of everything for the prospective rock or metal fan to consume here, and that is arguably this album’s only real flaw. The jolting shift in character from some of the aforementioned darker material to more light-hearted classic rocking fair like “David’s Mom” and the smooth orchestral balladry and “Eleanor Rigby”-like vibes of “Suzy” might prove a little much for some on the fringes of either end of the spectrum. Be this as it may, every one of these songs is a shining example of Graham’s brilliance and versatility as a vocalist, and those craving candy for the ears should be taken by any of the various flavors that come in this highly ambitious opus. It’s a testament to the notion that metal, even in its more traditional forms, is not wholly bound to an established orthodoxy. Furthermore, it stands at the latest triumph of one of the style’s founding fathers that shows no signs of wear, tear or slowing down while well into the golden years. It speaks to a world that has seemed to be in the middle of nowhere for the past two years, and provides it with a much needed compass to greener pastures.
Released By: Frontiers Music Srl
Release Date: May 13th, 2022
Genre: Heavy Metal
“Day Out In Nowhere” track-listing:
2. 12 Steps To Heaven
3. Brave New World (feat. Roy Z
4. Uncle John
5. Day Out In Nowhere
6. The Sky Is Alive
7. David’s Mom
8. When We’re Asleep (feat. Mike Tempesta, John Tempesta)
9. It’s Just a Frickin’ Song (feat. Don Airey)
10. Jester (feat. Jeff Loomis, Kyle Hughes)
GRAHAM BONNET BAND is:
- Graham Bonnet / Vocals
- Conrado Pesinato / Guitars
- Beth-Ami Heavenstone / Bass
- Keys: Alessandro Bertoni
- Drums: Levi Dokus
- Drums: Shane Gaalaas
- Guitars: Jeff Loomis
- Acoustic Guitar: Takanori Ozaki
- Drums: Kyle Hughes
- Drums: John Tempesta
- Guitars: Mike Tempesta
- Guitars: Roy Z
- Orchestral Arrangement: Shota Nakama and Antonio Teoli
Former Rainbow front man and vocalist of the iconic and now disputed metal/rock outfit Alcatrazz Graham Bonnet and his fold of virtuosos unleash an impressive series of aggressive, to the point anthems that brilliantly hearken back to the 80s while maintaining a very current edg