Faithsedge are optimistically billed as a supergroup. This collaboration features members of a number of bands, including Dokken, Stryper and Ace Frehley. But coming from those bands doesn’t automatically concoct a supergroup. A closer look reveals the truth.
Bassist Tim Gaines might be the closest to legit we get here: he’s been Stryper’s bassist for almost the duration of that band’s existence. Guitarist Alex De Rosso had a very brief stint with Dokken about 14 years ago, and drummer Matt Starr played on one Ace Frehley record and has toured the past year or two with Mr. Big.
Rounding out the band are a couple of more fellows we haven’t heard of: Giancarlo Floridia on vocals and Alessandro Del Vecchio on keyboards and (sadly, as you will read) production.
Restoration is Faithsedge’s third release, and is billed as a melodic metal/hard rock recording. Let’s focus on the positives here, at least for a paragraph. Faithsedge are definitely talented. The rhythm section is tight and energetic, and De Rosso has the chops to play this type of music. Musically, Restoration fits into the late ’80s style of melodic metal one would expect given the background of the band. Meaning it sounds a lot like a Dokken or Stryper album would if paired with middling production and thin vocals.
Those are the problems on Restoration. Sadly, Floridia is not much of a vocalist. The singing on this album reminds me of a friend I had around 1990, who thought he could sing in a metal band but really just sounded like a bad karaoke metal dude. Don Dokken was not the world’s greatest singer, but Floridia can’t hold a candle even to him.
The second big problem here is the production. At times the music sounds fine, but overall the guitars are thin. Listen to the beginning of album opener “Never A Day,” the keyboards are too prominent (expected, when your keyboard player is also the producer), and the drums lack any modern hint of snap or punch. Tolerable, until you hear the vocals. There is no consistent mix level here. Floridia fades in and out of the mix almost on a per-word basis. He either has no mic technique or Del Vecchio has no idea how to produce vocals, or both.
What it all boils down to is a tepid, lukewarm attempt at late-’80s bubblegum metal, with amateur vocals and poor production dragging down fine performances by the rest of the band. You’d be better served grabbing an old Dokken CD, or catching Stryper out on tour.
(released June 24, 2016 on Scarlet Records)