ROB MANCINI – Rock ‘N’ Roll Circus (2011)

ROB MANCINI - Rock 'N' Roll Circus (2011)

After almost a decade of recording abstinence, German-Italian born rock musician and producer Rob Mancini is back on track with a new album, “Rock ‘N’ Roll Circus”.

Rob played extensively on the international rock circuit in the mid 90’s as stable member of the renowned german band Hotwire and swiss act Crush, recording several albums and sharing the stage with artists such as Victory, Thunderhead, Dare, etc. before moving to Ireland in 2001 to work as studio and session musician.

One-man band and a recording studio project, “Rock ‘N’ Roll Circus” was composed, produced and almost entirely performed by Mancini itself, with a little help from some local colleagues.

The album opens with the somehow scary instrumental “Carnival Of Fools” as intro for the title track “Rock ‘N’ Roll Circus”, which is an uptempo modern rocker with straight guitars, driven by a cool riff but nothing memorable.

It’s on “Edge Of A Broken Heart” where things turns very interesting. This is a really good european melodic rocker build around mid-tempo verses that explodes into a catchy chorus plenty of keyboards and effective guitars. There’s also a nice middle part including a fine keyboard-clean guitar counterpart.

“Everytime You Cry” is another belter. This mid-tempo AOR tune starts pretty climatic but soon the very melodic chorus dominates the song. Really attractive harmonies enhanced by female backing vocals and good guitar solo by Rob.

“Running Up That Hill” is a cover of Kate Bush’s hit performed in a modern way with abundant synths and extremely processed vocals. Good version with some ‘dark’ vibe.

On “Lay Down The Law”, Mancini goes german hard rock in style and sound, adding some razor guitars to the mix and a vocal pose that strangely reminds me Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top. Cool track but a bit inconsistent.

“Weak As I Am” has some ‘tech’ keyboards and a style very close to many ’90s scandinavian acts (specially norwegian). This track offers one of the best vocal performances by Rob and it’s the best arranged song on the entire album.

“Stranger In Paradise” returns to the classic european melodic rock pattern, with a good chorus and classic keyboard embellishments.

There’s interesting sounds and ideas on the modern rocker “Too Late To Die” (good guitar solo), although I am not completely convinced with the result. Reminds me some Tony Carey works.

“United We Stand” has an ’80s aura during the verses, mixed with some typical ’90s guitar breaks and a never ending long chorus. This sounds pretty strange at first glance but after a couple of listens outcome pretty original to my ears.

The ballad “Time Stops For No One But You” isn’t mellow at all, filled with a dark vibe and a dense atmosphere. It’s one of those ‘not instant’ songs, but it has depth and uncommon sounds.

As bonus is included a different mix of “Edge Of A Broken Heart”. Not so different from the original, only less reverbered, just a bit more ‘dry’.

“Rock’n’Roll Circus” could best be described as a reflective but modern influenced crossover between the roots of late 80’s and early 90’s melodic rock.

There’s really interesting ideas and arrangements, nice keyboards, good guitar work and some catchy melody lines. On the vocal department Rob complies with the job correctly.

My big issue with this album is the production. Not terrible at all, just in my humble opinion some tracks don’t surpass the very well produced demo stage. With an outside producer or maybe with a bigger budget I’m sure these songs might sound much, much better.

Anyway, the important thing is the music itself, and “Rock ‘N’ Roll Circus” includes good melodies and interesting arrangements, not the usual ones in the melodic rock genre.

This indie release won’t be easy to find, as far I know only will be available on selected online stores.

01 – Carnival Of Fools

02 – Rock ‘N’ Roll Circus

03 – Edge Of A Broken Heart

04 – Everytime You Cry

05 – Running Up That Hill

06 – Lay Down The Law

07 – Weak As I Am

08 – Stranger In Paradise

09 – Too Late To Die

10 – United We Stand

11 – Time Stops For No One But You

12 – Edge Of A Broken Heart (Radio Mix)

Rob Mancini – Vocals, Guitars & Programming

Unlisted session musicians


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