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Don Airey - All Out CD (album) cover


Don Airey


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4.00 | 29 ratings

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Life Line Project
5 stars Review by Life Line Project

At a first glance I thought that I was dealing with another average AOR album, when I took out Don Airey's latest album "All Out". I bought it anyway and after having listened to it once, I couldn't stop listening to it for days in a row. It's just great music. All right, it may not be the world's most original album. You can clearly hear the Rainbow roots of Don Airey and you can hear his admiration for albums like "Tarkus" by E.L.P., but what an incredibly well produced album! Don has surrounded himself with an extremely talented bunch of musicians. The band line up consists of Don Airey on all vintage keyboards he could lay his hands on, Darrin Moons on drums, the bass is handled by Laurence Cottle, the vocals are taken care of by Carl Sentence, while the band's guitarist Rob Harris is often substituted or assisted by Bernie Marsden, Keith Airey and even the great Joe Bonamassa.

The vocal parts all show a Rainbow/Purple like style of hard rock, but with a more impressive Don Airey, than what you got when you were actually listening to the Rainbow albums or to the Deep Purple albums. His 2 Hammond organs, amplified by Marshall JCM 900 and driven by the famous rotating Leslie speakers roar like hell. Carl Sentence is a great singer and well up to the job. He may also be held responsible for the lyrics on the album. All vocal songs contain excellent and catchy choruses and are all supplied with the necessary more than average guitar and keyboard solo's. Each song highlights another guitarist and this keeps every one of them interesting to the very last bar.

The hard rock based vocal songs are alternated with very impressive instrumental compositions. Like Keith Emerson on "Brain Salad Surgery", Airey has opted for a composition of Argentinean composer Alberto Ginastera (1916 ? 1983). At the moment I am listening to Ginastera's original version of "Estancia", but to be honest I prefer Don's more aggressive Moog and Hammond driven version. The original has a narrator that is interrupting all the time. Don's adaptation sounds more heavy and will certainly please all E.L.P. fans.

The hand of the master is shown when Joe Bonamassa takes the lead in "People In Your Head", a very Purple sounding composition.

Rob Harris displays some great fusion playing in his guitar solo's in "B'cos", co-written by Harris and Airey who supplies the composition with orchestral sounds on his keyboards.

"Running From The Shadows" might well be a hit and houses both a catchy intro guitar lead by Bernie Marsden and a great chorus, supplied by Carl Sentence. The song has a strong Boston- feeling.

One of the strongest and most convincing compositions on the album is the "Right Arm Overture" (a strange place to put an overture). It has a little touch of Arab influences, but soon the sound gets a more classical and baroque feeling. It's a very E.L.P. influenced composition and it shows Don Airey as a real brilliant keyboard player. The great Hammond solo's keep coming and are well alternated with solo's on his collection of Moogs and his grand piano.

The album goes on with one of the most convincing renditions of Jimi Hendrix's "Fire" and again Rob Harris proves to be a genuine guitar virtuoso.

Another highlight on the album is the more jazz-rock orientated "Long Road", co-written with Keith Airey who is featured as the main attraction of the song as well, a great guitarist.

"Wrath Of Thor" will certainly appeal to fans of Deep Purple. It's another proof of the vocal skills of Carl Sentence and the song shows us a Don Airey as we would expect him in Deep Purple.

The main attraction of the album is "Tobruk", a composition of more than 10 minutes that deals will the hell of Tobruk in Libya during W.W. II and which is dedicated to Norman Airey who participated in this battle. It's a first class progrock composition and it justifies my conclusion that this album could well be in every progressive rock fan's collection. There are lots of tempo and character changes that keep you captured right till the end.

It has been long since I had so much fun in listening to a new album, so I can't help it and I will have to reward "All Out" with five stars!

Erik de Beer.

Life Line Project | 5/5 |


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