Album Review — Zadra
Zadra — Guiding Star
Zadra is a new band featuring singer/guitarist August Zadra. You may know Zadra from Waiting 4 Monday and Dennis DeYoung’s band where he plays the role of Tommy Shaw. “Guiding Star” is their debut album and features many artists including Dennis DeYoung and Jeff Scott Soto.
The album starts with a short track “Come Together”. It sounds a lot like the way a Styx record would start with layered vocals and what sounds like an intro into an epic journey. It’s actually a lot what I was expecting given his work with DeYoung.
But that’s where the Styx comparisons mostly end. Yes, he does sound a lot like Tommy Shaw, but the album takes a more modern hard rock turn. I hear a lot more Eclipse and JSS solo stuff than I do Styx on the rest of the record.
“Nothing More To Say” clocks in at nearly six minutes of melodic rock. Zadra’s soaring vocals fit the style so well and we get our first taste of Soto’s backing vocals.
“Ship of Fools” sounds a lot like something you’d hear off an Eclipse record. It’s both heavy and melodic and everything I love about this genre. It’s not what I was expecting but it’s fantastic. Soto’s backing vocals add so much as well.
“Come Back To Me” sounds like a Waiting 4 Monday track. It’s a little less heavy with a little more keyboard and a noticeable bass line.
“Escape The Rain” is back to the hard rock. Zadra’s guitar playing gets overshadowed by his impressive vocals, but he certainly can play. Another melodic rock gem.
I’m not sure if I’d call “A Matter of Yesterday” a ballad but it’s certainly slower. We get a lot of Soto vocals on this one as well which adds a nice layer.
“I’ll Meet You In Heaven” is another catchy rocker. Soto’s vocals give just the right punch at just the right time. And have I mentioned that Zadra can really sing?
“Take My Hand” sees Soto get a songwriting credit and DeYoung on keyboards. As expected, we get a lot of Soto even in the verses which really works. His voice compliments Zadra’s without taking over, which is really saying something given Soto’s strong vocals. The song builds and actually is the one other song that has that Styx feeling to it. Cool track.
“Dream Of You” brings things down a little and settles into a mid-tempo catchy track. It has a very 80s feel to it, almost like something you’d hear on a Survivor record.
Things get rocking again with “Won’t Let Your Love Take Me Down”. Another track that reminds me of Eclipse which is a great thing. Some really strong guitar work here as well.
The album closes with one last rocker called “Rise From The Fire”. This one feels like a combination of progressive Styx and modern Eclipse. A strong finish to the record.
So this was a surprise. This record wasn’t even on my radar and now it’s the leader in the clubhouse, albeit fairly early in the year. August Zadra is truly talented and I’m excited to see him finally be featured and he should be a star.
Any fan of the newer rock bands that I’ve been reviewing and loving over the last few years should really like this record. But really any fan of melodic hard rock should dig this record.
95 out of 100
1. Come Together
2. Nothing More To Say*
3. Ship Of Fools*
4. Come Back To Me
5. Escape The Rain*
6. A Matter Of Yesterday
7. I’ll Meet You In Heaven*
8. Take My Hand*
9. Dream Of You
10. Won’t Let Your Love Take Me Down*
11. Rise From The Fire