‘Sands Of Time’
2016 release from Melodic Rock Records.
Bryan Cole – Vocals, all instruments. Mike Brignardello – Bass.
Artist location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.
5 out of 5 stars rating.
Reviewed by David.
- Burning With A Reason (Jim Peterik cover).
- Hard To Find An Easy Way (Brett Walker cover).
- When Love Breaks.
- What Kind Of Fool (Pride Of Lions cover).
- Turn To Me (Pride Of Lions cover).
- I’ll Be There For You.
- We Lost The Fire.
- More Than A Memory (Brett Walker cover).
- Is It Really Love.
- Courage To Love (Pride Of Lions cover).
- Nothing Matters.
A few months ago had you asked me who Bryan Cole was I would have shrugged my shoulders and said I had no clue, never heard of him (sorry Bryan).
A few short weeks ago had you asked me that I may have had to think for a moment but I would have said he is a new artist that has an album coming out soon, sounds promising based on the two tracks I have heard so far.
Today if you were to ask me that same question my answer would come quickly and without hesitation, he is one of the brightest new artists to hit the melodic rock scene and this debut record from him will confirm that to anyone who takes the time to listen to it, which, if you are fan of this genre, you owe it to yourself to do so. It is a stellar piece of work.
Chock full of very commercial, radio friendly melodic rock, this debut record is a grand slam. With contributions from folks like Jim Peterik (ex-Survivor, Pride Of Lions, Peterik & Scherer) and the late Brett Walker, then you know the album is going to have at least a few great tracks, but Cole and his writing partner, D.J. Gleeson, turn out some terrific tunes as well, just take a listen to something like ‘We Lost The Fire‘, a song the two men penned, and you will see what I mean.
Vocally Bryan is not too different from the vocalists that Peterik usually surrounds himself with, big , clean vocals ala Peterik, Toby Hitchcock, Marc Scherer. He sounds fantastic and he proves his considerable musical chops here time and time again by not only providing the outstanding vocals but also playing multiple instruments including some great guitar work. The man is seemingly just a pool of talent. I am quite clueless as to why it has taken this long for us to get a record from him but whatever the reason I am certainly glad we finally have one!
Joining Cole is Giant bassist Mike Brignardello who is certainly no stranger to powerful melodic rock and he, of course, does a fabulous job here.
The album starts off with a Jim Peterik cover from his 2006 record ‘Above The Storm‘. ‘Burning With A Reason‘ is still a great song, just as it was on Jim’s album and Cole does an excellent job with it.
Track two finds us with another cover. This time from the late, sorely missed Brett Walker and taken from his classic 1994 album, ‘Nevertheless‘. Again Bryan does this cover justice and knocks it out of the park.
The Steven McClintock (Fertitta & McClintock) penned track, ‘When Love Breaks‘, is a terrific rocker that is everything you could hope for from an AOR song. Just fantastic. I love this track.
I must say, anyone who is brave enough to tackle a song sung by the likes of Peterik and Hitchcock has a serious set of balls on them, but Cole does so for the first time on this Pride Of Lions cover of ‘What Kind Of Fool‘ from their 2004 record ‘The Destiny Stone‘ and he straight up nails it! Proving even further that this guy has one hell of a set of pipes on him.
Following that up he immediately gives us another Pride Of Lions cover, this time going back to their 2003 self-titled debut with the excellent ‘Turn To Me‘. Again performing the track superbly.
Next up is the very first ballad of the album and the very first song we hear from the pen of Cole himself and his writing partner D.J. Gleeson. The song is a wonderful power ballad with a softly understated piano backing it along with the great tones from Cole’s electric guitar. These two men show that not only can they write but that they can hang with the legends that have written the songs thus far on the record.
The guys give us a rocker next with ‘We Lost The Fire‘. Great, hard rocking track with some fantastic guitar work and more excellent vocals.
The second Brett Walker cover comes in at track number eight. Once again pulling from the ‘Nevertheless‘ album, this time with the song ‘More Than A Memory‘. Another great cover and another job well done by Cole.
When you reach the ninth track of an album and have yet to hear a bad track then you start to get excited, at least I certainly do. There is not much that is more exciting to me then finding a new album that I love, and the further I make it into a new record without finding a bad track the more excited I get that I may have found something really special, and the more I start to dread that next track starting, waiting for that inevitable bad song to hit and ruin the streak that is going.
Thankfully when the second McClintock penned song hit I did not find that at all, but instead found yet another winner of a song with the mid-tempoed rocker ‘Is It Really Love‘. Not quite as strong as the first song from Steven but still a great track.
The next song I already knew that I liked as it is yet another Pride Of Lions tune once again pulled from ‘The Destiny Stone‘. ‘Courage To Love‘ is a fun, upbeat track and Bryan does it right.
The final track, ‘Nothing Matters‘, has arrived and it is a two-fold surprise for me. Number one, I have reached the end of the album and have loved every single track so far! And number two, this Joie Scott (well known songwriter with credits including songs for Peabo Bryson, Shania Twain, Jimmie Van Zant and Collin Raye to name a very few) and Larry King (Soleil Moon, Michael Thompson Band) penned track is one of the absolute best of the record. A mid-tempo power ballad with a terrific chorus and an outstanding vocal delivery. A wonderful song and a fantastic end to a phenomenal AOR record.
Fans of Jim Peterik, Toby Hitchcock, Marc Scherer, Survivor and Giant take notice of this one. Bryan Cole is a bright spot in this genre and I think he has a very big future ahead of him here.
Huge vocals, huge melodies and huge hooks. It is everything that AOR should be. Not since I first heard Hitchcock and Scherer have I been this excited about a new artist for this style of melodic rock.
This is, hands down, a must have for fans of artists like the above mentioned, fans of AOR and fans of clean, clear vocal melodic rock. Absolutely superb without any filler anywhere to be found. Five stars all the way!
Very highly recommended.
‘Burning With A Reason’.
‘When Love Breaks’.
‘What Kind Of Fool’.
‘Turn To Me’. ‘
I’ll Be There For You’.
‘We Lost The Fire’.
‘More Than A Memory’.