Hardrock Haven (USA)



Phil Vincent
Unknown Origin Independent

by Derric Miller
Staff Writer: HardRock Haven
HRH Rating: 7.6/10

Comments: How many times do you see this list of responsibilities when you look at the members of a band: all vocals; lead, rhythm and acoustic guitars; all synthesizers; bass and drums. Probably close to never. Singer/songwriter/instrumentalist Phil Vincent can boast that he literally does damn near everything on his new album, Unknown Origin.

Unknown Origin is Vincent’s ninth studio album. Vincent began his career as a songwriter, sending songs like "Stargazer" to Ozzy and "Save Me" to the Scorpions. Somewhere along the line, Vincent decided he’d give it a whirl and see what he can do on his own, and nine albums later, you get Unknown Origin.

Vincent describes his own music as "melodic rock with influences by Journey, Harem Scarem, Talisman, Dokken," and a few others. You’ll definitely hear the Dokken influences in his vocal delivery. He sounds like Don Dokken before the singer lost his edge. "Thanks for Nothing" starts the CD, with a heavy riff and understated keys/synth. This isn’t a feel good song by any means, as he sings, "Sometimes I don’t know if I’m dead or alive. Maybe I should choose my fate with a loaded .45." You’ll hear some XYZ in the composition as well. This is a wicked way to get things going.

Vincent immediately turns things to a lighter mood with "Dear Friend." This is more Journey or Boston, owning an early ’80s rock vibe. The chorus is melodic and catchy, but it’s not as strong as "Thanks for Nothing."

You’ll hear synthesizer in most of the tracks, and they are completely under the surface most of the time. In fact, if you have the volume turned down low enough, you might not even catch them. Not sure if this is a production miscue or if it is planned. One track you’ll hear this on is "All I Need." While the drumming is tight, the song is odd, clean during the verses and noisy at the chorus, and it’s a bit confusing. This does have one of the best guitar solos on the CD, albeit brief.

He goes back to his strength on "Make No Mistake," another heavy, melodic rocker. This once again sounds like Dokken, especially with the smart drum fills, but you’ll hear a bit of Yes at times too. The keys play a larger role at times, and maybe would have been better had the guitar handled those musical passages. The drumming, either by Vincent or Tanion DeAngelis, sounds like a machine gun. Cool.

"Going Through the Motions" will kick you in the teeth. This is one of his heaviest tracks, with smart harmonies and a churning guitar rhythm. At two minutes into the song, it’s just Vincent singing along with the keys, and this guy is a damn good singer.

You’ll get a couple of ballads as well, "Faithless" and "In The Blink of an Eye." The latter is an acoustic track with stellar two-part harmonies. This is the part of the show where the ladies cry into their bra before they chuck it at Vincent.

If you haven’t heard Vincent before, you need to check this album out. He has hits and misses, but knowing that he wrote every song and played every instrument, as well as handling lead vocals, you are hearing a real talent.

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