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Solna - "Sent From Heaven" (CD/EP)

Solna - "Sent From Heaven" CD/EP cover image

"Sent From Heaven" track listing:

1. Sent from Heaven (4:25)
2. I Light A Candle (4:39)
3. Celebrate (4:53)
4. Feel Alive (5:03)
5. Dreams (5:08)
Bonus Track:
6. I Light A Candle Too (3:14)

Reviewed by on March 2, 2009

"If you have a teen niece, sister, or daughter who likes melodrama and chick flicks, Solna’s album may be a great buy for her; the rest of the world who are over seventeen would likely be smart to pass on the cheese though."

It’s been said that movies with all-star casts are doomed for failure. Oftentimes this is also true of albums made by stellar musicians from various bands. Solna is the brainchild of CD Inzane boss Zane Peterson, and is comprised of Pamela Moore on vocals, Primal Fear’s Ralf Scheepers on backup vocals, Dokken guitarist Alex DeRosso, Starbreaker and Steve Vai bassist Fabrizio Grossi, and China Blue’s Eric Ragno on keyboards. While Solna’s EP "Sent From Heaven," which is actually more like a teaser for the upcoming full album "Eurameric," may not be doomed for failure, it definitely falls short of expectations.

Leading lady Pamela Moore is probably best known in the metal community for her contributions to Queensryche’s "Operation Mindcrime" and "Operation Mindcrime II." Her rich, classic voice is an asset to mellow ballads, such as "I Light A Candle" and "Feel Alive," but doesn’t work so well on hard rock tunes like the opening track, "Sent From Heaven." Here, the vocals are strained and weak on the higher notes. Moore suffers similar problems on "Dreams," where her voice sounds very much like Angela Lansbury from Disney’s "Beauty and the Beast." And, despite the fact that typically I rally behind female-fronted bands, the party-embracing tune "Celebrate" would have worked better if Ralf Scheepers had taken the lead vocals and let Moore don the hat of backup vocalist.

Instrumentally, the album is stuck in the 1980’s. Retro glam rock permeates "Sent From Heaven." Here the performance is solid, but there’s nothing smashing about it. The most extreme the album gets is intermittent intervals of two to three measures of a scaling guitar in "Dreams," and a few traditional glam shreds in "Celebrate," along with a Def Leppard "Love Bites" intro, but otherwise the sound is classic Top 40 ballad.

Don’t think, however, that the compositions aren’t quality work. "I Light A Candle" and "Feel Alive" are both beautiful tunes, with very pretty, melodramatic vocals and instrumentals. It’s just that the angsty lyrics, such as "when I was with you, there wasn’t emptiness in my life," are what one would expect to find on some stalker emo teenage girl’s mix CD.

Fans of 80’s mainstream rock may very well like both versions of "I Light A Candle," as the first version is a cross between 80’s stars Billy Ocean and Heart, and the second version, "I Light A Candle Too," sounds a lot like Wilson Phillips, with its added female backup vocals. It is interesting to note that "I Light A Candle Too" is a bonus track, only available on about the first 2,000 copies of the EP, but other than the shortened length, it’s really not much different at all from the original. It’s like an unplugged version of a song that was already unplugged, and is a totally unnecessary addition.

All of the tracks except for "I Light A Candle Too" will be included on "Euarameric" when it is released in April. Therefore it stands to reason that if, like most albums, "Eurameric" features ten to twelve tracks, about four to five of them will be decent songs, since two of the tracks here were okay. In fact, if you have a teen niece, sister, or daughter who likes melodrama and chick flicks, Solna’s album may be a great buy for her; the rest of the world who are over seventeen would likely be smart to pass on the cheese though.

Highs: "I Light A Candle" and "Feel Alive" are very pretty ballad compositions.

Lows: Lyrics throughout are sugary sweet bordering on cheese.

Bottom line: Unless you have a secret love for 80’s Top 40 ballads, pass on this one.

Rated 2 out of 5 skulls
2 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)