21 OCTAYNE – 2.0
These Germans have a vibrant sense of melodies, proper uplifting chord combinations, and dynamic songwriting on their second album "2.0". Vocalist Hagen Grohe delivers the words in a passionate AOR meets melodic hard rock manner, bringing to mind semblances of Bad Company, Shinedown, and Boston/ Journey – especially on the trailing high notes of "Take Me Back" or the tender semi-acoustic ballad "Lost". The 10 minute longer closer "Tale of a Broken Child" gives guitarist Marco Wriedt and drummer Alex Landenburg a chance to flex more of their progressive muscles in terms of time signature interplay and intricate instrumental passages.
There’s something intriguing about the blending of European-style musicianship against a backdrop of more North American oriented melody and power – 21 Octayne encapsulate decades of AOR and hard rock into a very potent, palatable sound. If there is a band that has all the right ingredients to start ascending up the ranks and get some buzz going, "2.0" could be that record for 21 Octayne. Amidst all the heaviness normally in my steady music diet, there are times where letting loose and just being present in the moment matters most – and this provides 45 minutes of rocking, fun tracks.