Michael Palace, founder of the band bearing his name, is no stranger to melodic hard rock and to Frontiers Music, the label delivering his debut album, Master Of The Universe. Palace has been a songwriter and guitarist for the label working with other label mates including First Signal (featuring Harry Hess), Cry of Dawn (with Goran Edman), and Kryptonite (featuring Jakob Samuel). His band features Rick Digorio on guitar, Marcus Johansson on drums and Soufian Ma’Aoui on bass.
Another thing Palace and company have some familiarity with: classic rock, essentially meaning all things Eighties. Yet, the palace sound leans more towards AOR side of melodic hard rock (as opposed to Sunset Strip sleaze rock or metal, for example). They're going for a full sound, with lots of depth and breadth.
Strong melodies. Big rock groove. Large and lush vocal harmonies. Brisk riffs and strong frisky guitar solos. Catchy refrains. A solid layer of keyboards for atmosphere and texture. All these things are in proper balance as well. But I would also suggest everything pivots on the song's melody and the vocal harmonies. Fundamentally, Palace draws from all the right stuff that made classic Eighties rock famous. Then they simply want to tease your ears and draw you into their arena rock sound.
As for the songs, while I can say I liked some songs more than others, every one is solid and well-crafted, with no filler. Most all the songs are rockers and, curiously, there's really no traditional rock ballad. Path To Light and Rules Of The Game come off a bit smoother, backing down on a bit on the heaviness, but still roll with feel of melodic arena rock anthem. No worries. It's all good stuff with my picks for the best of the litter: Cool Running, Part Of Me, Path To Light, and super catchy Matter In Hand. Palace's Master Of The Universe is easily recommended for fans of classic Eighties-style AOR melodic hard rock.
Palace's Master Of The Universe is easily recommended for fans of classic Eighties-style AOR melodic hard rock.
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