Reviewing a new album from the band Q5 is not something I ever thought I would be able to do. After all, their last release was in 1986 and they have been disbanded since 1987. Thanks to a one-off request for a show at the Sweden Rock Festival in 2014 the band decided to reform, and thanks to Frontiers Records we now have a new Q5 album titled New World Order.
Q5 originally was something of a Seattle supergroup combining the talents of two popular local bands in 1983. The band consisted of guitarist Rick Pierce, bassist Evan Shelley, and drummer Gary Thompson from TKO and vocalist Jonathan K and guitarist Floyd Rose from C.O.R.E., (that is the same Floyd Rose that invented the double locking tremolo, “whammy”, bar). They released their classic and critically acclaimed debut album, Steel the Light in 1985 to rave reviews. To me, that album was a perfect blend of hard and heavy rock and lighter melodic rock. So when they followed that up with the keyboard heavy, radio friendly When the Mirror Cracks in 1986 they bewildered their fans and the album fell flat. Shortly thereafter the band broke up in 1987 due to internal tension. So after a 29-year hiatus, New World Order is a welcome recording. There are new members to the new Q5, Dennis Turner has replaced Floyd Rose on guitar, and Jeffery A. McCormack has replaced Gary Thompson on drums.
For me, New World Order is the logical follow-up to Steel the Light. It is as the band states in the first single “The Right Way” a “low down and dirty, hard and heavy” rock and roll album. The album offers a little bit of everything for a hard rock fan. Songs like “We Came Here to Rock”, “Halfway to Hell”, and the aforementioned “The Right Way” are just straight ahead rock songs, whereas the title track and “A Prisoner of Mind” offer mid tempos and nasty grooves. Q5 can still go heavy with “One Night in Hellas”, “Tear Up the Night”, and “Get Next to You”. They even branch out with melody on “Just One Kiss”. While this is a diverse album there are no bad songs on the disc, and no ballads!
New World Order is a welcome return to form for Q5 and really a must buy for any hard rock and heavy metal fan. Overall if every song is worth a point I would give this album 11 out of 14.