Guitarist and vocalist Fabri Kiareli wears his musical influences on his sleeve, and proudly so. A true believer and veteran, his solo project F.E.A.S.T. is pure 80's melodic hard rock as he draws heavily from bands like Dokken, Ratt, White Lion, and Def Leppard (to a lesser extent). On this first work Rise, Kiareli handles the lead vocals and most of the instruments, excepting the drums by friend Mao Granata.
With little question, Mr. Kiareli is a fine vocalist (sounding like a cross between Les Carlsen and Coverdale) and accomplished guitarist and, from the effortless ease of the song compositions, knows his favorite genre. He can punch it up with heavier melodic rock on Fire and Dynamite and Burning Fever. Kiareli can lay down some catchy hooks as on Shock Me. You get a solid blues rock feel ala Coverdale and Whitesnake on Dangerous Love and impressive (Ain't Done) 'Til It's Over. He pairs up with fellow Italian singer Alessandro Del Vecchio (Edge Of Forever, Eden's Curse, Axe, et al) for the melodic rock anthem Follow the Way (although this is one of weakest tracks on the album). Of course, being a prodigy of those heady Eighties days, Fabri delivers some serious and sugary power ballads with Cold Hearted and Broken Dreams, the better of the two. Kiareli can also delve into some traditional, but highly uneven, epic metal/rock on the ten minute The Meaning of Life.
Generally, Rise is well-crafted melodic hard rock, sometimes with a metal edge, sometimes with a smoldering blues feel. Yet, I can't escape the notion only a few songs really 'popped' like (Ain't Done) 'Til It's Over, Shock Me, or Dangerous Love. I'm wondering if there's enough here for Rise to leave a lasting and memorable impression. Repeated listens are certainly required. On a minor note, the mix felt a little uneven at times, but this may be because I received an EPK download rather than a physical CD. Above all, I was more inspired by Kiareli's guitar work here than anything else, especially on Shock Me, (Ain't Done) 'Til It's Over, or Fire and Dynamite. Nevertheless, Rise is a strong first effort from Fabri Kiareli, and if you dig Eighties-style melodic hard rock, you should definitely check it out. (But Kiareli should lose the 'F.E.A.ST.' thing and just run with his name.) Recommended.