Perhaps you know Sweden's Alyson Avenue from their famous alumnus, lead vocalist Anette Olzen, who replaced Tarja Turunen in Nightwish in 2007. Alyson Avenue's history dates back to 1989, but they didn't release their first recording, Presence of Mind, until 2000. A follow up came in 2004, Omega, and both were re-released in 2009. Now, Alyson Avenue returns with new album, appropriately titled Changes and a new vocalist, Arabella Vitanc.
Even with a new vocalist, some things have not changed for Alyson Avenue: they still deliver solid and entertaining AOR melodic rock. This time out their helped by some significant contributors including back up vocals from Olzen, Michael Bormann, guitar work from Rob Marcello (Danger Danger, Marcello-Vestry), and production from veteran Chris Laney (Crazy Lixx, HEAT, et al).
Though not entirely partial to female lead vocals in a rock (or metal) band, there are a great many bands out there with many being very good. Possibly that's the first question on the mind of an AA fan. Is Ms. Vitanc up to the task? Yes, definitely so. She easily works the range from rock ballad (Will I Make Love) to moderate AOR (Don't Know If Love Is Alive) to a harder number (Fallen, Into the Fire). Of course, much of a vocalist's success is predicated on the quality of the music. The aforementioned songs are well-composed pieces offering a fine platform for Ms. Vitanc skill.
And fundamentally, Changes is representative of well-written melodic rock of the AOR variety. Mostly, with exception of the ballad Will I Make Love or the AOR pop of Don't Know If Love Is Alive, this is a rock album, with some a bit heavier than others like Liar (my least favorite track) or Fallen. For Alyson Ave, Changes is a fine return to the fold of European melodic rock. Easily recommended.