Wednesday 13 February 2019

Rosy Vista - Unbelievable (2019)

Country: Germany
Style: Hard Rock
Rating: 6/10
Release Date: 8 Feb 2019
Sites: Facebook | Metal Archives

The title of this album surely references the fact that Rosy Vista have released it in 2019. I remember this German band from the mid eighties when they released an EP and a couple of singles, but they split up with the decade without a full length release to their name. Well, now they do, over three and a half decades after starting out as a band and seventeen years since reforming in 2002. That's dedication and I applaud it!

It's not a bad album either, though it doesn't quite spark the way I was hoping that it would. Crazy provides a catchy and commercial way to kick things off, for instance, but it took a couple of listens for me to truly appreciate it. By the third or fourth, I wondered why I didn't like it to begin with. How could I not have fallen for this immediately?

I think it's probably not Crazy per se, but the track that follows it, in which everyone, especially vocalist Andrea Schwarz, seems to be trying too hard. It's not bad, but it's probably the weakest song on the album with a heavy focus on Schwarz exercising her pipes over notably accented backing vocals, while the guitars remain annoyingly low in the mix. Its placement this early, just as we're reacquainting ourselves with Rosy Vista's sound, hurts the album.

Every complaint I have about Sadistic Lover is inapplicable to Master of Control, which really should have been the second track, emphasising the depth that Rosy Vista have and the variety. While Crazy is deliberately radio friendly, Master of Control is deeper and has a lot more substance. It starts rather like the Scorpions and moves into MSG or UFO territory (no, Barbara Schenker isn't still with the band and, even when she was, she didn't play guitar).

There are other tracks here that feel very comfortable indeed. Until I'm Satisfied is cool and comfortable. It flows effortlessly, as does Sound of Your Love, even if it's not as memorable. Too Much Feeling, perhaps the best track this album has, is the most comfortable of all. Schwarz shines on vocals here, providing some real soul before handing over the reins to Anca Graterol, whose guitar is the real highlight of the album. Her solo on Too Much Feeling is delightfully emotional.

Generally speaking, this is commercial eighties hard rock throughout, as we might expect, with the benefit of some modern production that ups the bass and gives the drums some more crunch. However, while most of it does feel like it could have been written back in the late eighties, there are points that would have been very different had it been recorded back then.

For instance, Hopatina is just as heavy a track as the Dio-esque Tables are Turned, but it plays out like a pop song with a punk edge. Graterol's work is what stands out, once again, but the earworm chorus is something we might expect from Abba. It's very catchy stuff indeed and it's neatly different to everything else here without ever becoming inconsistent with the rest of the album.

The biggest problem Unbelievable has is that it's too relentlessly rooted in the eighties, so much so that it falls into some of the bad habits we had back then and I don't just mean cheesy eighty lyrics. There's also the inevitable radio-friendly single, the required ballad and the obligatory cover version, here a pointless take on Born to Be Wild that's decently done but completely unnecessary. It adds nothing to the album.

The biggest success (please) is that Unbelievable is a just another new album, rather than a new album by a female band. If there wasn't such an overt link to the eighties here, I wouldn't even have thought of that and that underlines just how far we've come. In 1985, the metal mags would be more interested about throwing Rosy Vista's band photo onto a pull-out poster than actually listening to the music they make and realising that they, especially Anca Graterol, kick ass. Never mind Sound of Your Love, listen to Master of Control and Rockin' Through the Night to see what I mean.

Thank you, Rosy Vista, for sticking it out for all this time and bringing us a full length album in 2019. Let's have another one soon!

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