Sunstorm House of Dreams (2009) Frontiers Records Produced by: Dennis Ward For the Genre: ***** (5/5) Compared to the Era: ***** (5/5) “Out of many, one.” There were numerous songwriters on House of Dreams, but this album has a solid, unified sound and all of the different contributors and their varying influences were able to blend into a seamless series of songs. This is mostly thanks to the incomparable talent of Mr. Joe Lynn Turner, whose voice is just as strong and dynamic now as it was over 20 years before. Combined with the unrivaled production of Dennis Ward, House of Dreams is a can’t-miss, out-of-the-park homerun of an album. Once more, Carl-Andre Beckston lends his incredible touch to the remarkable artwork in the jewel case making this nothing short of a collector’s item, but one that you can own at the fraction of the cost. However, the true treasure of this album is, of course, the recordings themselves. This album is not as edgy as the eponymous release two years prior, but is, nevertheless, full of energy and the spirit of AOR. The lead off track “Divided,” does sound like a song that could have been included on that album. There is no mistaking that sound that Uwe Reitenauer brings right from the beginning; nuance and technique that you’ll rarely find on a record out of the United States in the last decade. House of Dreams begins to break away from the previous work on the following track, “Don’t Give Up,” which is a softer anthem that, nevertheless, commands a sense of victory over adversity. A song with a similar feel, although with a bit more optimistic melody comes from “Forever Now,” one of my favorites. Another favorite of mine is “Say You Will” which is just simply one of the most romantic sounding rock songs I have ever heard in my life. The middle passage literally causes chills to run up my spine as visions of the most beautiful woman you’ve ever seen form in your mind’s eye. It doesn’t surprise me that this one came from the master, Jim Peterik. However, the greatest track on this album is easily, “I Found Love.” Ward himself on the bass guitar carries this tune along with Gunther Werno’s expert synthesizer work that takes us to the wizardry of Marco Bayati on lead guitar. Simply one of the most delightful rock songs I’ve heard since “The Touch” by Stan Bush. This record definitely makes me wish that Turner is considering a third release with Ward, Reitenaur, Schmidt and Werno but I suppose that depends on how many spare songs Peterik might have in his bag of tracks and, of course, the powers that be at Frontiers. Hopefully the success of these two outstanding releases will lead them to propose work on a new album for, perhaps, next year.