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[REVIEW]: House of Dreams (2009) by Sunstorm


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Sunstorm

House of Dreams (2009)

Frontiers Records

Produced by: Dennis Ward

 

For the Genre: ***** (5/5)

Compared to the Era: ***** (5/5)

 

“Out of many, one.” There were numerous songwriters on House of Dreams, but this album has a solid, unified sound and all of the different contributors and their varying influences were able to blend into a seamless series of songs. This is mostly thanks to the incomparable talent of Mr. Joe Lynn Turner, whose voice is just as strong and dynamic now as it was over 20 years before. Combined with the unrivaled production of Dennis Ward, House of Dreams is a can’t-miss, out-of-the-park homerun of an album. Once more, Carl-Andre Beckston lends his incredible touch to the remarkable artwork in the jewel case making this nothing short of a collector’s item, but one that you can own at the fraction of the cost. However, the true treasure of this album is, of course, the recordings themselves.

 

This album is not as edgy as the eponymous release two years prior, but is, nevertheless, full of energy and the spirit of AOR. The lead off track “Divided,” does sound like a song that could have been included on that album. There is no mistaking that sound that Uwe Reitenauer brings right from the beginning; nuance and technique that you’ll rarely find on a record out of the United States in the last decade. House of Dreams begins to break away from the previous work on the following track, “Don’t Give Up,” which is a softer anthem that, nevertheless, commands a sense of victory over adversity. A song with a similar feel, although with a bit more optimistic melody comes from “Forever Now,” one of my favorites.

 

Another favorite of mine is “Say You Will” which is just simply one of the most romantic sounding rock songs I have ever heard in my life. The middle passage literally causes chills to run up my spine as visions of the most beautiful woman you’ve ever seen form in your mind’s eye. It doesn’t surprise me that this one came from the master, Jim Peterik. However, the greatest track on this album is easily, “I Found Love.” Ward himself on the bass guitar carries this tune along with Gunther Werno’s expert synthesizer work that takes us to the wizardry of Marco Bayati on lead guitar. Simply one of the most delightful rock songs I’ve heard since “The Touch” by Stan Bush.

 

This record definitely makes me wish that Turner is considering a third release with Ward, Reitenaur, Schmidt and Werno but I suppose that depends on how many spare songs Peterik might have in his bag of tracks and, of course, the powers that be at Frontiers. Hopefully the success of these two outstanding releases will lead them to propose work on a new album for, perhaps, next year.

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5/5?!

 

Have you considered going to work for Melodicrock.com? They overrate everything too...

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5/5?!

 

Have you considered going to work for Melodicrock.com? They overrate everything too...

Haha. You evil man. But yeah, gotta agree in this case. Love this album, but 100% - a perfect CD? Wowser.

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5/5?!

 

Have you considered going to work for Melodicrock.com? They overrate everything too...

Haha. You evil man. But yeah, gotta agree in this case. Love this album, but 100% - a perfect CD? Wowser.

 

Most people thought the first album was better (I didn't), so would that have been a 6/5?

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5/5?!

 

Have you considered going to work for Melodicrock.com? They overrate everything too...

Haha. You evil man. But yeah, gotta agree in this case. Love this album, but 100% - a perfect CD? Wowser.

 

Most people thought the first album was better (I didn't), so would that have been a 6/5?

 

The first album was better.

 

Have never rated these 2 albums but off the top of my head I'd say -

 

Debut 85% ish

Second 75% ish

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5/5?!

 

Have you considered going to work for Melodicrock.com? They overrate everything too...

Haha. You evil man. But yeah, gotta agree in this case. Love this album, but 100% - a perfect CD? Wowser.

 

Most people thought the first album was better (I didn't), so would that have been a 6/5?

 

The first album was better.

 

Have never rated these 2 albums but off the top of my head I'd say -

 

Debut 85% ish

Second 75% ish

 

Those are about the scores I would give them too, just the other way around...

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Debut 85% ish

Second 75% ish

 

Those sound right, too, but I work on a 0-5 scale without fractions in order to save time. I don't start taking off points unless there are songs on there that are an absolute throw away.

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Debut 85% ish

Second 75% ish

 

Those sound right, too, but I work on a 0-5 scale without fractions in order to save time. I don't start taking off points unless there are songs on there that are an absolute throw away.

 

fair play mate, but 0-5 doesnt give you much room to differentiate between releases??

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Debut 85% ish

Second 75% ish

 

Those sound right, too, but I work on a 0-5 scale without fractions in order to save time. I don't start taking off points unless there are songs on there that are an absolute throw away.

 

fair play mate, but 0-5 doesnt give you much room to differentiate between releases??

 

No, but he gives them all 5 anyway so that's less of a problem.

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Debut 85% ish

Second 75% ish

 

Those sound right, too, but I work on a 0-5 scale without fractions in order to save time. I don't start taking off points unless there are songs on there that are an absolute throw away.

 

fair play mate, but 0-5 doesnt give you much room to differentiate between releases??

 

No, but he gives them all 5 anyway so that's less of a problem.

 

Well he gets one thing right - 'I Found Love' being the best song - I seem to remember arguing this point at the time. Havent listened to it in ages, but seem to recall it was about the only song which truly captured the magic of some of the songs on the debut like 'Keep Tonight' etc.

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Debut 85% ish

Second 75% ish

 

Those sound right, too, but I work on a 0-5 scale without fractions in order to save time. I don't start taking off points unless there are songs on there that are an absolute throw away.

 

fair play mate, but 0-5 doesnt give you much room to differentiate between releases??

 

No, but he gives them all 5 anyway so that's less of a problem.

 

Well he gets one thing right - 'I Found Love' being the best song - I seem to remember arguing this point at the time. Havent listened to it in ages, but seem to recall it was about the only song which truly captured the magic of some of the songs on the debut like 'Keep Tonight' etc.

Oh yeah, that is a magic song.

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Debut 85% ish

Second 75% ish

 

Those sound right, too, but I work on a 0-5 scale without fractions in order to save time. I don't start taking off points unless there are songs on there that are an absolute throw away.

 

fair play mate, but 0-5 doesnt give you much room to differentiate between releases??

 

No, but he gives them all 5 anyway so that's less of a problem.

 

Well he gets one thing right - 'I Found Love' being the best song - I seem to remember arguing this point at the time. Havent listened to it in ages, but seem to recall it was about the only song which truly captured the magic of some of the songs on the debut like 'Keep Tonight' etc.

Oh yeah, that is a magic song.

 

Not for the first time today you guys are mistaken. "The Spirit Inside" is the best song.

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both 'The Spirit Inside' and 'I Found Love' are awesome, but don't forget some other gems such as 'Don't Give Up', 'Forever Now', the title track, and the soft-and-sappy 'Say You Will' too. The two covers are probably unnecessary, but not too bad at all.

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No, but he gives them all 5 anyway so that's less of a problem.

 

Have you read all of my reviews? I would review, specifically, my opinions on the three albums by Ten I wrote about. I don't think any of them got 5 out of 5, and I greatly enjoyed one of them. As I said, there were throw aways and that's what starts to make points drop off. If I go to a 10/10 or 100% scale, all of a suddenly, we're splitting hairs. Maybe you like less keyboards than I do, or I want a little more guitar solo than you do... No two people are going to line up perfectly on taste but as far as how highly I can recommend it, I usually from avoid, worth checking out, average but good, highly recommended to must buy. That's what I mean when I give a 5.

 

What I'd be more interested in hearing about is why you didn't like it as much as I might have; I think that'd be useful to anyone else reading this conversation so they can say, "OK, I agree with that other guy. I wont like the album as much, because I prefer more of X and this doesn't have it." From the different points of view, I think one can get a better understanding about all of the different kind of response that CD elicited in its listening audience.

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No, but he gives them all 5 anyway so that's less of a problem.

 

Have you read all of my reviews? I would review, specifically, my opinions on the three albums by Ten I wrote about. I don't think any of them got 5 out of 5, and I greatly enjoyed one of them. As I said, there were throw aways and that's what starts to make points drop off. If I go to a 10/10 or 100% scale, all of a suddenly, we're splitting hairs. Maybe you like less keyboards than I do, or I want a little more guitar solo than you do... No two people are going to line up perfectly on taste but as far as how highly I can recommend it, I usually from avoid, worth checking out, average but good, highly recommended to must buy. That's what I mean when I give a 5.

 

What I'd be more interested in hearing about is why you didn't like it as much as I might have; I think that'd be useful to anyone else reading this conversation so they can say, "OK, I agree with that other guy. I wont like the album as much, because I prefer more of X and this doesn't have it." From the different points of view, I think one can get a better understanding about all of the different kind of response that CD elicited in its listening audience.

 

Dont bite, it only makes him worse ;-)

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No, but he gives them all 5 anyway so that's less of a problem.

 

Have you read all of my reviews? I would review, specifically, my opinions on the three albums by Ten I wrote about. I don't think any of them got 5 out of 5, and I greatly enjoyed one of them. As I said, there were throw aways and that's what starts to make points drop off. If I go to a 10/10 or 100% scale, all of a suddenly, we're splitting hairs. Maybe you like less keyboards than I do, or I want a little more guitar solo than you do... No two people are going to line up perfectly on taste but as far as how highly I can recommend it, I usually from avoid, worth checking out, average but good, highly recommended to must buy. That's what I mean when I give a 5.

 

What I'd be more interested in hearing about is why you didn't like it as much as I might have; I think that'd be useful to anyone else reading this conversation so they can say, "OK, I agree with that other guy. I wont like the album as much, because I prefer more of X and this doesn't have it." From the different points of view, I think one can get a better understanding about all of the different kind of response that CD elicited in its listening audience.

 

 

I'd like to see you adopt a new rating system :)

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No, but he gives them all 5 anyway so that's less of a problem.

 

Have you read all of my reviews? I would review, specifically, my opinions on the three albums by Ten I wrote about. I don't think any of them got 5 out of 5, and I greatly enjoyed one of them. As I said, there were throw aways and that's what starts to make points drop off. If I go to a 10/10 or 100% scale, all of a suddenly, we're splitting hairs. Maybe you like less keyboards than I do, or I want a little more guitar solo than you do... No two people are going to line up perfectly on taste but as far as how highly I can recommend it, I usually from avoid, worth checking out, average but good, highly recommended to must buy. That's what I mean when I give a 5.

 

What I'd be more interested in hearing about is why you didn't like it as much as I might have; I think that'd be useful to anyone else reading this conversation so they can say, "OK, I agree with that other guy. I wont like the album as much, because I prefer more of X and this doesn't have it." From the different points of view, I think one can get a better understanding about all of the different kind of response that CD elicited in its listening audience.

 

 

I'd like to see you adopt a new rating system :)

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No, but he gives them all 5 anyway so that's less of a problem.

 

Have you read all of my reviews? I would review, specifically, my opinions on the three albums by Ten I wrote about. I don't think any of them got 5 out of 5, and I greatly enjoyed one of them. As I said, there were throw aways and that's what starts to make points drop off. If I go to a 10/10 or 100% scale, all of a suddenly, we're splitting hairs. Maybe you like less keyboards than I do, or I want a little more guitar solo than you do... No two people are going to line up perfectly on taste but as far as how highly I can recommend it, I usually from avoid, worth checking out, average but good, highly recommended to must buy. That's what I mean when I give a 5.

 

What I'd be more interested in hearing about is why you didn't like it as much as I might have; I think that'd be useful to anyone else reading this conversation so they can say, "OK, I agree with that other guy. I wont like the album as much, because I prefer more of X and this doesn't have it." From the different points of view, I think one can get a better understanding about all of the different kind of response that CD elicited in its listening audience.

 

 

I'd like to see you adopt a new rating system :)

 

Backed. It discredits the review if you can't find any flaws in something. Which is why people criticise reviews on MR.com. The reviews themselves are great, very informative with detailed descriptions of the songs/style. Exactly what you want when you're on a limited budget and choosing what to spend your cash on. Even on the Journey review he admitted that not all their fans would like it and described the style, which is why he's a top reviewer IMO. It's just spoilt a bit by the rating system which gives everything half-decent 90%+. He needs to revise the benchmark downwards and differentiate the ratings more to really help people choose the best albums, rather than just saying they're all amazing.

 

Same with your ratings. Nice reviews, and I pretty much agree as I love the 2nd Sunstorm too (though I can understand why some prefer the 1st one). However I would give it about 85%, which would have to be 4/5 max. Giving it full marks is saying it's as good as: Treat "Dreamhunter", Dare "Out of the Silence", Strangeways "Walk in the Fire" [enter name of your all-time fave AOR CD's here]. Which it isn't! Even if you do (somehow) think that virtually everything that gets released on Frontiers or Escape these days is amazing, still try and differentiate so people can see how they compare as not everyone can buy everything...

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