Work Of Art In Progress (2011) Frontiers Records Produced by: Work Of Art For the Genre: ***** (5/5) Compared to the Era: ***** (5/5) Summary: Just three words for this one… Oh. My. God. I love the classic rock act like the next guy… Treat, Stan Bush, Nelson, Whitesnake, Night Ranger, Journey, Grand Illusion. When they can pull it off, and pull it off right, not caving into the stripped down tendencies of the dark decade (you know, the 1990s), I’m usually thrilled with the results. However, there’s only so many late 80s and early 90s Rock Candy releases I’m going to be interested in because I’ve heard it all before. My library is an extensive collection of what used to be Top 40, hard rock by the likes of Living Colour, Winger, Ratt and others. I don’t feel the need for any re-issues or more classic bands like Warrant or Styx to try to make a come back. It’s almost depressing to see my childhood idols in their 50s and sometimes 60s still try to rock it. I want to see guys my age, in their 20s and 30s, doing what I love. Heavy drums, hard rock guitar, intricate solo work and soaring, harmonic vocals. Apparently, Sweden is the answer to my prayers because Oh My God, Work Of Art—the next big thing out of the Scandinavian country—delivers every single piece of what my ears have craved since I was a little boy wearing out my father’s Quiet Riot cassette tapes. Left-handed guitarist, keyboardist and main composer Robert Sall teamed up with drummer Herman Furin years ago in music school according to their website. However, it wasn’t until they landed upper-stratospheric vocalist Lars Safsund that Frontiers would cut a deal with these guys to bring us their debut album, which I’m about to purchase due to the genius it brings in its own right. To be clear, there is so much right with this release that I hardly know where to begin. I can try to start with the fact that out of 12 songs, I love 11 of them. It’s an album for true lovers of Album Oriented Rock. Specific examples of that include the way “Eye of the Storm” seamlessly blends into “Until You Believe” or the way the clearly Toto-inspired “Fall Down” transitions into Castaway. Then there is the production exemplified by the absolutely enormous sound on the final track, “One Step Away” and on “Never Love Again,” which gives a die-hard 80s-rock fan like myself the sonic power we’ve been so utterly hungry for in new music for years. Then there is the highly creative single “The Great Fall” that when you close your eyes, you can imagine a dark arena with the lights coming on one at a time as the song gets ready to begin. It’s so catchy, just like “Nature of the Game” or the lead-off track, “The Rain.” So many songs on this disc make you want to sing along, like “Call On Me,” which is my absolute favorite on this CD for some reason—I wouldn’t call it the heaviest track, it’s just so catchy. Another sing-along ear-worm is the remarkable “Emelie,” by Sall and inspirational lyricist Hanif Sabzevari and further enhanced by the great low-end work by bassist Henrik Linder. Even though there was a huge number of people that worked on the production, from Safsund running the mix on six of the tracks and the other six by Bo Reimer to the local mastering hero Mats Lindfors mastering the record, it comes out like a solid piece of work. And I was so happy that Frontiers didn’t go cheap, and provided purchasing fans with a gorgeous jewel case with outstanding artwork by Mr. Carl-Andre Beckston. This CD has been spinning in my car almost non-stop since the moment it arrived in the mail and I can hardly think of a finer musical purchase that I’ve made in recent times. No one who loves Melodic Rock will regret getting this one. It’s an instant classic and a MUST BUY. Guaranteed.