When I initially ‘discovered’ Melodic Hard Rock legends Alcatrazz courtesy of a pilfered copy of their full-length debut No Parole From Rock ‘n’ Roll (1983), I quickly found myself enthralled with their now-trademark blend of gritty vocals and razor-sharp fretwork. Accordingly, hook-laden gems such as “Island In The Sun” and “General Hospital” quickly became beloved additions to my repertoire as I overindulged in both Disturbing The Peace (1985) and Dangerous Games (1986). Although I may have lost touch with the group amid their Doogie White era, my admiration for founding frontman Graham Bonnet (Fortress, Rainbow, MSG) continued unabated even as he unceremoniously departed from the group in 2020 amid a cloud of controversy. Fortunately, with the highly-anticipated release of Day Out In Nowhere, his latest—and quite possibly greatest–individual offerings to date, the group–and, as a result, Bonnet himself–appear poised for a major critical and commercial renaissance.
On the brilliant Day Out In Nowhere (2022), an expertly assembled eleven song collection of Melodic Hard Rock and Heavy Metal, each track, beginning with the maddeningly infectious first single “Imposter” (the official video can be viewed HERE) and the somber, emotionally-charged “Twelve Steps To Heaven”, immediately commands the rapt and undivided attention of all parties involved, myself most definitely included. Wasting little–if any–time capitalize upon the veritable wealth of momentum initiated with the release of the equally ingenious Meanwhile, Back In The Garage (2018) and, to a lesser extent, The Book (2016), the group flexes their more-than-considerable creative muscles early and often. Yielding an initial series of auditory excursions that are, believe it or not, as fine-tuned as they are lastingly memorable, Bonnet et al surges ahead with the gritt -y tenacity that has fueled what must be described as one of the most diverse résumés in the history of the genre.
Continuing with the barbed melodicisms of the shred-infused “Day Out In Nowhere” and the relentlessly- pummeling (think Alcatrazz meets Stand In Line era Impellitteri) “The Sky Is Alive”, the steadfast–to say the very least–combination of vocalist Graham Bonnet (Blackthorne, Michael Schenker Group, Rainbow), guitarist Conrado Pesinato, bassist Beth-Ami (rhymes with ‘Sesame’) Heavenstone and drummers Kyle Hughes, Mike T-empesta and Shane Gaalaas (B’z, ex-Hughes/Turner Project, Michael Schenker Group), the group steamrolls ahead like the well-oiled machine they’ve so obviously become. With Bonnet sounding far more crisp (and, for that matter, far less compressed) in comparison to Born Innocent (2020), the group offers a seamless amalgama-tion of his notoriously storied discography. Effortlessly reminding us all of their collective prowess by driving home each key focal point with a precision that belies their collective age, the group surges ahead with intensity.
Mixed and Mastered by the acclaimed Brendan Duffey (Age Of Artemis, Deventter and Still Alive, among others), other standouts, including the droning–albeit highly-effective ‘on the road’ tirade “When We’re Asleep” and the hook-laden, tongue-in-cheek jewel “It’s Just A Frickin’ Song” (featuring current Deep Purple, ex-Ozzy Osbourne and ex-Rainbow keyboardist Don Airey), while not necessarily groundbreaking or revolutionary, only further reinforce Bonnet’s already well-documented penchant for unabashed wizardry. Fortified throughout via guest appearances from Arch Enemy/ex-Sanctuary guitarist Jeff Loomis and drummer John Tempesta (Exodus, Testament, White Zombie), even the weakest of moments sear with a near-tangible energy few of his remaining contemporaries are genuinely capable of replicating. The end results, as I’m sure you’ve already deduced, are all but guaranteed to serve as an ideal exemplification of this now presumably permanent post-Alactrazz excursion.
But was it really worth the wait? Fortunately, that depends entirely upon your particular point of view. The rightful follow-up to the equally ingenious Meanwhile, Back In The Garage (2018), the majority–if not all–of the undeniably ear-pleasing wares contained herein are seemingly guaranteed to leave all but the most pessimistic of would-be enthusiasts wanting for more. However, only ‘time will’ tell if the unnervingly-resilient vocalist will indeed return to the dizzying heights of international acclaim (love ’em or loathe ’em, this is most definitely not No Parole From Rock ‘n’ Roll, Vol. II), Day Out In Nowhere serves as a much-welcomed reminder of his lyrical and musical prowess. Accordingly, if you’ve found yourself searching for a forthright alternative to the painfully mindless din and clatter that is so often force-fed via the proverbial mainstream, then this, my friends, might just be the high-octane counter-irritants for what it is that ails you. Trust me, you will not be disappointed.