This is the long awaited debut album by Greek hard rockers HIDEAWAY. And if ‘’long awaited’’ sounds too overblown for non-Greek readers, I have to tell you that teasers from the album had been floating around for more than a couple of years and they were fantastic! Besides, we knew Manos Fatsis would front the band and he has already done an outstanding job in 2018’s hard rock-AOR sensation, the ODYSSEY DESPERADO debut album ‘’Don’t Miss The Sunset’’, so the connection was at least intriguing.
HIDEAWAY’s style is 80’s melodic hard rock with a strong AOR touch but also some melodic metal leanings. The music has a solid foundation, with heavy guitars and a strong rhythm section, while the keys and vocals give it a very melodic approach. The production is really good, crystal clear with enough power and the polish that goes with this certain style of music. All players performing on the album did a great job, the band sounds really professional. There’s a lot of tasty guitar work by the guitar duo of Paloudis / Georgiou. Fatsis’ performance is outstanding as always, his raspy, powerful yet sentimental vocals are the best match for HIDEAWAY’s songs.
Those who had checked out the samples already knew all of the above; the real question was whether the band could match all their qualities with an equally exceptional songwriting. I have to admit that when I gave the album its first spin I was a little bit hesitant, especially during the first half of the album. It’s not that the guys didn’t write enough great stuff, it’s just that they somehow stacked most of their obvious highlights in the second half while the first half has a couple of songs that don’t gel immediately. So if by any chance you check the album out before hitting the record store just make sure you go through all of it, especially the second half that is really impressive.
‘’Another day’’ starts the album in spectacular fashion, a display of both their heavy and melodic side topped with a wonderful uplifting chorus. ‘’Promises’’ is a grower, a rather simple song with catchy riffs, thumping bass and a stellar vocal performance that wins you over hands down. ‘’Lonely nights’’ comes after a couple of mellower songs and gets things back on track showcasing some nice metallic mid tempo riffing and a passionate chorus totally into AOR, a winning combination. Track No 7 ‘’When you feel’’ starts a string of great tracks, it’s one of those uplifting AOR songs that put a smile on your face, great vibe and inspiring lyrics. ‘’Masquerade’’ is definitely one of the best songs on the album, heading into 80’s heavy metal territory with amazing guitar work and vocal lines. ‘’Unknown hero’’ continues with a similar heavy edge, Fatsis delivers his great passionate vocals and the song evolves into a real anthem. ‘’Road to nowhere’’ slows things down temporarily, as it starts as a piano ballad, it takes off in the chorus with the band joining in and then changes to mid tempo hard rock and slows down again, a beautiful song indeed with superb vocals. Last track ‘’Far away’’ has some powerful guitar work again, successfully balancing between AOR/hard rock and melodic metal. As you can see I’ve listed more than 2/3 of the album tracks as highlights, which is a more than satisfying rate you rarely come across these days.
Fans of melodic hard rock/AOR can grab the album without hesitation. It is a guaranteed pleasure. And metalheads that look out for selected high quality hard rock should definitely check the album out too, there’s a lot to relate to.