WINGER - Seven
May 27, 2023, 5 months ago
Seventh album from one of the few ‘80s bands who still have the original members, singer and bassist Kip Winger, guitarist Reb Beach with Paul Taylor back (also keyboards), drummer Rod Morgenstein, and third guitarist John Roth since in 1992. Now if you actually listen to Winger, even back in the MTV days, you already know they offered more than hit hard rocking singles and excellent ballads, especially from the 1993 album Pull.
VII is the fourth album of new music since their reformation in the 2000s, and like several of their peers (Extreme, House Of Lords, Skid Row, Warrant, Stryper, Tesla, Whitesnake), the new music retains all the elements that made Winger successful in the first place, but shows growth, wisdom with age, contemporary maturity musically and lyrically.
First single "Proud Desperado" sets the tone for the album, a tougher Winger like the couple singles from the previous two varied albums Better Days Comin and Karma. Guitar tone and the triple guitar attack a sonic difference from the ‘80s albums. Keyboards underneath the guitars is a nice melodic compliment to the melody and chorus, Beach bringing a fiery short and sweet solo with the rest of the band in on that quick proggy change. "Heaven's Falling" would make a good catchy radio single with an AOR chorus and backing vocals. Edgier riff on "Tears Of Blood" starts and moves like a Saxon song with a crunch in that moody bridge chorus, "Rescue Me" follows keeping the hard rock vibe consistent. Kip's bass leads the groove to slower pace "Voodoo Fire", big backing vocals on the chorus.
Halfway through the album time for the ballad, "Broken Glass". Enjoyable, but it's hard to match the two hits and "Spell I'm Under". Talk box on "It's Okay" and Kip trading off on the verses with one of the other guys. Heaviest riff and attitude for "Stick The Knife In And Twist", with lyrics "switchblade lover with a poison kiss". And again, keeping things hard and rockin’ on "One Light To Burn" with the focus on guitars. In contrast, acoustic guitar begun "Do Or Die" is misleading, includes piano parts, and a couple progressive changes Winger are always good for. Great message to the lyrics in the chorus too.
Back to another heavy (Alice In Chains-ish) riff for "Time Bomb" without losing the vocal harmonies. "It All Comes Back Around" is orchestrated in presentation, dramatic piano and vocals builds and then drops out to bass and Morgenstein's touch. Whole band comes together that also includes a movement I could hear during a scene in a stage play, Beach taking the lead for the ride out.
Another Winger winner that, again, shows these ‘80s "Hair" Metal bands are more than the greatest hits from the era.