You don’t spend as long as Graham Bonnet has in this business without knowing where to pitch yourself in the market for full effect. In this case, the legendary Rainbow, Alcatrazz, MSG and Impeliterri vocalist has assessed the situation and come up with a great album for the times.
Whilst maintaining the power of his Rainbow days, The Book also contains elements that sit nicely within the power metal genre which is booming all over Europe at the moment. Power and melody are all over this album.
Out on Frontiers Music S.r.l. it is pleasing to see the album labeled as the Graham Bonnet Band, clearly impressing upon us that it is not just a showcase for his vocal talents, but a team effort where all protagonists play an equal part.
The Book comes as a 2 CD package, with CD 1 containing all new material and CD 2 has re-recordings of his best-known work of previous incarnations. Whilst there are classics such as “All Night Long” and “Lost In Hollywood” on there, nothing is enhanced and, as is often the case, these songs cannot be improved upon.
The real pleasure lies in CD 1. Opening with the driven keyboard riffs of Jimmy Waldo on “Into The Night”, it is a rip-roaring start to proceedings and from that moment on the album never lets up.
Bonnet’s voice sounds as good as ever, and in the mind’s eye, he is always there, mouth as wide as possible and with the veins standing out on his neck. You just feel he gives it everything he’s got, all of the time.
Guitarist Conrad Pesinato is at his twiddling best on “Welcome To My Home” before we have the drama and storytelling of “Earth’s Child (I Am Your Son)”.
I think Graham Bonnet avoided cliche as much as he can on this album and you can tell that he, along with his band, have been very fastidious in creating this record so full marks for that.
Excellent drumming courtesy of Mark Zonder is a highlight of “Rider”, especially during the opening. A great uplifting solo tops off a cracking song which, in parts, is most reminiscent of his Rainbow days.
“Strangest Day” carries on the unrelenting pace until they decide to take things down a bit with “The Dance”, which is a catchy, emotional song.
A bit of a funky start welcomes us to “Where Were You”, a song which doesn’t really take off, unfortunately. It is forced and quite uncharacteristic of the album.
It’s back to form with “The Book”, including some interesting Deep Purple-esque keyboard work which is the main drive for the song. Pesinato also takes us on a journey with his axe work.
“Everybody Has To Go” starts off full of pomp before melting into another exciting guitar piece. It drifts along a bit from there but is still a solid track.
We finish off with “California Air” which is a fitting finale as it amalgamates all that has come before; powerful vocals, keyboards, melody and quality solo.
It’s great to see Graham Bonnet back rocking with his band, he deserves many more plaudits and with this album he has certainly earned them.