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Sonic Age - Monster Inside
Release Date: March, 2007
Label: Self-released

Rating:
****
out of
*****

From Western Pennsylvania comes Sonic Age, a quartet raised on the classic rock of the 1970s and 80s. They wear those influences on their sleeves on Monster Inside, the band's debut CD which was self-released in early 2007, but that's not a bad thing. Mixing a variety of styles, Sonic Age powers through the 14 cuts on the CD with the confidence of a band that's been playing to arena-sized crowds for decades.

From the opening chords of "All I Want Is One (Kiss from You)", it's apparent that Sonic Age knows how to craft a sing-along vibe with their songs. However, just when you think the band is all about one particular style of rock, they'll surprise you with a change-up. Particularly noteworthy in how they differ from the rest of the songs are "Vapor Trails", a soaring tune about missed opportunities and chances squandered, the melodic "Spin", and "Plastic Anna", an ode to an inflatable lover. "You Bring the Rain" is an acoustic-tinged rocker that's somewhat reminiscent of KISS' "Hard Luck Woman".

Vocalist Joe Albanese, who also writes the majority of the lyrics, has a powerful set of pipes and he knows how to get maximum effectiveness out of them. It's always a joy to hear a rock band with a singer that can actually sing instead of screeching through a set of songs. Mr. Albanese sounds like a combination of Disturbed's David Draiman and early Paul Di'Anno, Iron Maiden's original singer. That's a compliment, by the way.

Monster Inside features guitar work from two separate shredders, Dave Dimoff and Michael Fonce. Dimoff, who left the band halfway through the recording of the CD, is featured on five cuts, while the remainder are handled by Fonce. Each guitarist is excellent and, while you can tell their styles differ from track-to-track, it's not jarring to the listener.

The guitars and vocals are layered over the rock solid foundation provided by Eric Vasbinder on drums and Steve Dunch on bass.

Monster Inside features 14 high quality hard rock songs with nary a filler tune in the bunch. While I don't know how radio would respond to the material here, fans of guitar-based rock and roll with a leather-lunged singer should immediately seek out this CD. Highly recommended!

For more information on Sonic Age, visit their website at http://www.sonicage.net/

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