music / Reviews

Tesla – Forever More Review

October 8, 2008 | Posted by Dan Marsicano

The Band

Jeff Keith-Lead Vocals
Frank Hannon-Guitar, Piano, Backing Vocals
Dave Rude-Guitar, Backing Vocals
Brian Wheat-Bass, Backing Vocals
Troy Luccketta-Drums

The Track Listing

1. Forever More-5:02
2. I Wanna Live-3:35
3. One Day At A Time-3:11
4. So What!-3:39
5. Just In Case-4:38
6. Fallin’ Apart-4:22
7. Breakin’ Free-5:02
8. All Of Me-3:27
9. The First Time-4:11
10. Pvt. Ledbetter-3:24
11. In A Hole Again-5:25
12. The Game-4:50

The Review

California hard rockers Tesla are road warriors, having been cranking up the rock for almost 25 years. Even with a long hiatus in the late 90’s, the band has stayed strong through it all, with a loyal fanbase following their every move. In 2006, Tesla went through their first line-up change, with the departure of founding guitarist Tommy Skeoch due to family matters.

Dave Rude was brought into the fray and after last year’s cover album, Real To Reel, Tesla went back into the studio to record their first album of new material in four years, Forever More. With producer Terry Thomas, who worked with the band on 1994’s Bust A Nut, on board, Tesla has crafted a versatile and eccentric album, one that isn’t content to stick with one musical style and experiments right from the get-go.

The title track shows the dynamic between acoustic and electric guitars from the onset, with inspiring lyrics and a melody that evokes an anthem rock feel. The solo is solid as well, utilizing harmonics to maximum effect, bringing back memories of the 80’s. Current single “I Wanna Live” is perfect for rock radio, with a catchy chorus, upbeat melody, and sound that will make it a live favorite on the band’s upcoming tour.

The rest of the album is surprisingly mellower than I had expected, with the band controlling their urge to go insane. This is especially evident in the middle portion of Forever More, where the acoustic-driven ballads and melodic rockers come into full view. Tesla takes these tracks, which would be perfect for the Nickelback crowd, and puts a unique touch on it, one that is rooted in 80’s hard rock. Tesla has an edge to them that makes even the softer tracks pack a punch.

The band hasn’t gone completely soft on us, with some of the hardest tracks of the band’s post-hiatus career. “All Of Me” hits like a freight train, a welcome relief from back-to-back melodic tracks. “One Day At A Time” is the shortest song on the album, and not a second is wasted. Form the gang vocals in the chorus to the shredding solo in the bridge; the track just screams ‘crowd pleaser.’

It is with the final two tracks where the album comes together and takes the ideas of the previous ten and blends into an excellent conclusion. From the long solo in “The Game” to close out the album to the sudden shift in tempo, leading to a metal riff fest in “In A Hole Again,” the last ten minutes of Forever More are instantly memorable, long after the last note has been strummed.

Keith puts in an inspired performance on vocals, sounding like it was 1986 all over again. Hannon and new guitarist Rude make quite a team, considering they are relatively new as a guitar duo. Brian Wheat and Troy Luccketta keep a steady rhythm, which is all you can ask for in a Tesla album.

Forever More is a surprise hit waiting to happen. With the right single and the right promotion, Tesla could have a successful album on their hands. Realistically, the die-hards will eat the album up and others may or may not jump all over Forever More. Unlike most hard rock bands, Tesla has enough experience in the songwriting category to provide a solid group of songs that don’t feel tired or similar to everybody else in the genre. Forever More is another good Tesla album, and while not on par with their earlier material, shows the rock universe that Tesla can still bring it after all these years.

The 411Forever More sticks it to all the cookie-cutter hard rock bands out today with solid songwriting, great guitar work, and a perfect mix of melodic and aggression. Some may find the mellower sound to be disappointing, but its a welcome sign of maturity that benefits the band in the long run. They still pull out the electric guitars to tear the house down, but know when to calm down to pack an emotional touch. Forever More is one of the better hard rock albums of the year, and one that could become an surprise hit if given the right direction.
Final Score:  7.5   [ Good ]  legend

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Dan Marsicano
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