A few years ago, Survivor main man , Jim Peterik, came across a young vocalist whilst he was putting his PRIDE OF LIONS project together by the name of Toby Hitchcock, and what a find this young man was, and who made a big impact on the melodic rock world. Not only in the studio, this great talent comes alive on stage, having witnessed him sing live with PRIDE OF LIONS at MELODIC-ROCK-FEST 2 in Chicago back in 2010, went down as the best band of the weekend. A real find from JimPeterik, the iconic songwriter of such timeless hits as “Eye of The Tiger,” “Burning Heart”, “Hold on Loosely” and “Heavy Metal”:often compared to Bobby Kimball (Toto), Jimi Jamison (Survivor) or Lou Gramm (Foreigner), Hitchcock’s voice has the depth, the feeling and the extension of each of them, still keeping his own identity and trademark and makes his an absolute star in the current Melodic Rock scene.
So with Jim Peterik focusing on a new WORLD STAGE record, there was some time for Toby Hitchcock to follow-up his 2011 solo debut MERCURY’S DOWN with his brand new solo album the RECKONING, through Frontiers Music. I had high hopes with this new offering as the debut was a full on melodic belter of a release, and as most people know Toby Hitchcock could sing ‘My old man’s a dustman’ and make it sound good.
So with his all-star band in tow featuring, Daniel Flores (FIND ME) on drums & keyboards, Michael Palace (PALACE, FIND ME) on guitars & bass, and the multi talented Yngve ‘Vinnie’ Stromberg on drums & percussions, we kick off the album with ‘No Surrender’ which features Hitchcock’s trademark soaring vocals and great guitar work from Palace. Following tracks ‘Promise Me’ and ‘Show Me How To Live’ are both quality hook-laden AOR tunes, with strong vocals and harmonies.
Next up ‘Behind The Lines’ just doesn’t really do it for me, great vocals but just a bit so so with the lyrics and hooks. On the other hand ‘Fighting for My Life’ is trademark Toby Hitchcock, and in my honest opinion the best track on the record, with just amazing vocals once again. Unfortunately the rest of the album seems to be a bit music by numbers, with ‘Serenity ‘ and ‘Queen Untouchable’ being a bit forgettable. Both ‘Gift of Flight’ and ‘Dont Leave’ are helped out again by great vocals but just leave me a bit underwhelmed again and seem subdued. The melodic ‘Dont Leave’ is a lot better and gets things back on track for a while, before final tracks ‘This is our World’ and ‘Someone Like You’ bring this second solo offering to a close.
To sum up, Toby Hitchcock’s RECKONING, is a decent effort, but falls way short of his debut. It could have a great record, but i feel Hitchcock has slightly changed his musical direction and this has affected the final product, as i just wish the songs could have matched that amazing voice of his. It’s a reasonable album but not one that going to feature regularly on my playlist, and im looking forward to what PRIDE OF LIONS offer up next.
3.Show Me How To Live
4.Behind The Lies
5.Fighting For My Life
8.Gift Of Flight
10.This Is Our World
11.Someone Like You
Toby Hitchcock: Vocals
Daniel Flores: All Keyboards and Drums
Michael Palace: Guitars and Bass
Yngve “Vinnie” Strömberg: Drums and Percussion