OFF THE EDGE - 2002 - Unfinished Business

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    OFF THE EDGE - 2002 - Unfinished Business

    Mensaje por Robert el Miér 14 Ago 2013, 01:58

    rare female fronted AOR/Melodic Rock album from South Africa !

    OFF THE EDGE - Unfinished Business (2002)

    Peter Hanmer: Guitars, keyboards
    Tony Groenewald: Bass
    Giselle Mynhardt: Vocals

    Release information:
    June 2002
    Recorded at Foxglove Sound Studios, Johannesburg, South Africa

    01.Riff Valley (instrumental) [4.54]
    02.Hold On [4.46]
    03.Cry For Help [5.44]
    04.Alone [5.56]
    05.Guiding Light (instrumental) [4.42]
    06.No More Distance [6.07]
    07.Free Flight (instrumental) [4.00]
    08.Remember September [6.01]
    09.Unfinished Business, part 1 (instrumental) [4.43]
    10.Higher Ground [4.59]
    11.The Lies Behind Your Eyes [5.23]
    12.Still Want You Back [5.57]
    13.Unfinished Business, part 2 (instrumental) [1.34]

    All songs written by Peter Hanmer except tracks 2 & 6 by Peter Hanmer/ Giselle Mynhardt and track 11 by Tony Groenewald/Peter Hanmer/Giselle Mynhardt


    by Brian Currin, 29th March 2004

    The long-awaited follow-up to 2002's 'Unfinished Business' by Off The Edge is now available. This new CD is titled 'Site Under Construction', which is very appropriate, as Off The Edge is not really a gigging band and sell most of their CDs online through their own website (and mostly overseas to fans as far away as Germany and Japan).

    Off The Edge celebrated their 20th anniversary last year and founder member Peter Hanmer brought original keyboardist Dave Sharp (also known for his work with 80's band Feather Control) back into the fold. Due to geographical differences, another founder and long-time member, bassist Tony Groenewald, was not able to be involved with this lastest project.

    After 3 albums with a female-led rock sound, 'Site Under Construction' goes back to Off The Edge's roots by bringing in a male voice. And what a voice! Clint Cunningham comes from the '80's School of Rock {sorry, that term is now copyrighted - ed.} vocalists and has been likened to David Coverdale, but on the ballads he sounds more like Jackson Browne. Sherry Lee Jones from Peter Hanmer's 'Age Of Innocence' side-project provides beautiful backing vocals through-out.

    The songs range in style from guitar and keyboard work-outs ('Everything Goes', featuring Sharp on an original Hammond C3 and alto sax) to rock ballads ('Rock Bottom' and 'Written In The Sand') and crunching rock sounds (The title track and 'Off The Edge', re-recorded here, after appearing on the first Off The Edge album in 1983).

    Another constant factor with Off The Edge is their superb album covers created by Mark Raats and this one is no exception. The CD cover graphic art is really stunning and all the lyrics are included in the 6-page booklet.

    Off The Edge fans (and there are lot of them) will love this album, and fans of well-produced Melodic Rock and Nu-Prog will find a lot to like here. Highly recommended.



    Heart Of The Rock
    Lee Bradfield

    Off The Edge - Unfinished Business (2002, Off The Edge Records)

    Peter Hanmer (guitars / keys), Tony Groenewald (bass), Giselle Mynhardt (vocals)

    Artwork by Mark Raats

    Produced by Peter Hanmer at Foxglove Studios Johannesburg

    Having been a South African AOR institution as early as their debut in 1983, Off The Edge have survived music industry indifference, a near permanent breakup and lineup changes to bring you their fourth studio album Unfinished Business, a disc 2 years in the making and well worth an examination here at HOTR.

    Riff Valley kicks off the album in instrumental fashion, coming across like Axe or Megaforce era 707, a virtual catalogue of riffs for the AOR at heart with fluid solos not unlike Neal Schon. Hold On ushers in new vocalist Giselle Mynhardt, wrapping her warm and powerful voice around a midtempo anthem celebrating the virtues of resilience - an essential trait for AOR practicioners these days. Cry For Help is even better, punchy 4/4 backbeat overlaid with melodies straight out of Passionworks era Heart and a chorus worthy of any period AOR classic. Alone tugs out the gentle side of the band, gradually building into a power ballad of epic proportions. Guiding Light crosses classic Saga with modern day Joe Satriani for an instrumental piece that exists in it's own sonic dimension, taking you on a ride through various textures and setting you gently back down in time for No More Distance, another AOR anthem caught somewhere between classic 80's Heart and Broke [N] Blue, not a bad place to be.

    Free Flight returns to the instrumental format, this time more laid back but not lacking in stature. Remember September takes shape as a semi acoustic vocal tour de force for Giselle, at times reminiscent of the fabled Renaissance despite the electric riffing eventuating through the latter half. Unfinished Business Part 1 ventures into more bluesy instrumental territory not unlike Tony Joe White or even Gary Moore, proving that versatility needn't result in a dip in quality. After a protracted gentle verse Higher Ground launches into the kind of power ballad chorus found on Heart's Brigade lp, and never looks back - there really is no substitute for well crafted melodic rock. The Lies Behind Your Eyes restores some balance through it's uptempo nature, melodic as always - try imagining Thrills with female vocals and you're getting there. Still Want You Back applies some Gary Moore esque blues to the ballad format to rewarding effect, while the album closes with a cool jazz / light fusion reprise of Unfinished Business, this one being Part 2.

    It seems very likely that Off The Edge will return to live performing at long last, which will be a treat for South African AOR fanatics - the rest of the world can be consoled by obtaining this essential disc via www.cd.co.za/offtheedge . Then again, air travel to South Africa is very affordable ...


    OFF THE EDGE: Unfinished Business 13tx/60 mins

    Fourth album from South African rock band and it's a vast improvement on the previous album, in every way. For a start, the songs are a lot better with a set of female-vocal led anthemic compositions that will have you joining in the choruses after just a play or two. With several corking instrumentals along the way, this is a most satisfying album.

    It opens with one for those instrumentals and immediately we see a great production in force as the wicked electric leads are unleashed while the guitar and bass riffs drive the track on via some strong drumming in there too, all melodic but still well heavy with a big big sound. The first song, 'Hold On', has a mix of strong choruses that are very catchy allied to strong female vocals and instrumentally a great sense of dynamics using electric and acoustic guitars, surging riffs and clipped rhythms, restrained to crunching drum work, a searing guitar solo in the middle and as fine an anthemic AOR track as they come, getting the song side off the album to a splendid beginning.

    'Cry For Help' revolves around a similar structure, yet another infectious chorus and a feel of Lana Lane in its sound and qualities. In fact, I can imagine anyone into Lana Lane enjoying this album for a long time to come too. 'Alone' starts in reflective mode with just vocals and acosutic guitars, as gradually other instruments appear and the whole thing begins to build, heading for a sky-high AOR power ballad, which it reaches magically, only to drop back after the main chorus and then build once more, all tension and release done to perfection with a huge production, a great sound and another superb song equally well delivered by the band and vocalist.

    Of the rest, four further instrumentals show the band as a unit who can tackle a mix of rock, AOR and fragility to make compositions that fit totally in keeping with the flavour of the album as a whole. For the songs, there are a lot more great compositions with suitably multi-layered passages, while 'Remember September' is a truly heartfelt homage to the Sept 11th carnage as a superbly sung track set to just acoustic guitar, string synth and bass, initially, then builds to a fantastic, powerful AOR ballad that is to die for as band and vocals soar majestically to heights most could never dream of reaching on a brilliantly composed song that is guaranteed to create a lump in the throat when you listen to it and remember, also lyrically aware too and one of the album's many highlights.

    Overall, a startlingly great talent that deserves far wide recognition on the strength of this album which doesn't have a bad track on it and is one that many fans of AOR and, to an extent, prog rock, will enjoy and treasure for years to come.

    SA Rock Digest, Issue #146, 11th March 2002

    Despite its almost prophetic title this album, which was originally planned for release at the end of 2001, is now almost finished. One more instrumental song 'Riff Valley' needs to be added, the cover design needs to be finalized and then we can expect this album to be out by April.

    After Judy Marshall left the band (and South Africa), Off The Edge driving force Peter Hanmer (no relation to SA jazz pianist Paul Hanmer) got involved in a side-project with Sherry Lee and brought out 'Nowhere Land' under the name Age Of Innocence (I guess Peter was the "age" and Sherry Lee the "innocence"). Peter and bassist Tony Groenewald then found a new female rock voice in Giselle Mynhardt and started work on the new Off The Edge album.

    Giselle has a strong rock voice like the Wilson sisters from Heart. 'Alone' is not a cover of the Heart song, but this rock ballad would not be out of place on one of their albums. In fact there are no covers on this album, unless you count 'Still Want You Back' which Peter originally recorded with Age Of Innocence and redoes here in a harder bluesier style.

    This will be Off The Edge's 4th Melodic Rock album since 1983 (not counting Peter's limited edition 'The Instrumentals' CD) and fans of Peter's guitar sound (think Trevor Rabin, David Gilmour and Boston's Tom Scholtz), his keyboards (Alan Parsons, anyone?), and powerful rock chick vocals are not going to be disappointed. I know I'm not.
    -- Brian Currin
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    Re: OFF THE EDGE - 2002 - Unfinished Business

    Mensaje por Robert el Miér 14 Ago 2013, 01:58

    tienen otros 2: OFF THE EDGE - Off The Edge [reissue '99] (1983) [very rare]
    OFF THE EDGE - Just Another Band (2000)

      Fecha y hora actual: Lun 22 Ene 2018, 01:09