WAR & PEACE – The Flesh And Blood Sessions
Jeff Pilson is a household name for anyone into American Melodic Hard Rock. Known to be part of the driven force in Dokken, DIO or more recently in Foreigner, the bass/guitar player, singer and now producer is an accomplished songwriter as well.
At the very end of the ’80s when Dokken momentarily disbanded, Pilson founded an new band together with Legs Diamond bassist Michael Diamond: Flesh And Blood. Due to legal issues, they got to change the moniker for WAR & PEACE.
The recordings of the band were silently released at the end of the Nineties, and now Pilson in association with Cleopatra records are re-issuing the material as “The Flesh And Blood Sessions” with a refreshed sound and a previously unreleased track.
In this project Pilson handled lead vocals and some rhythm guitars while Diamond was at charge of bass, most keyboards and the overall concept. The line-up was completed with guitarist Randy Hansen and legendary Vinny Appice on drums.
War & Peace recorded their first tracks in 1988 with top class studio wizards behind the desk: Angelo Arcuri (Eddie Money, Dio) engineering and producing, while ‘big man’ Neil Kernon mastered the whole thing in NYC. The first 5 songs in this CD are the result of these sessions.
Tracks 6, 7 and 8 were completed by Pilson playing all instruments in late 1990 with Tommy Henriksen mixing, while track 9 “What I Hide Behind” was written and recorded in 1992 featuring a Robin McAuley vocal appearance because this was right around the time Pilson was in MSG band.
The previously unreleased “Heaven Knows” was taped in 1990 featuring the talents of lead guitarist Darren Housholder, just graduated from Berklee School of Music.
Despite the different recording sessions, “The Flesh And Blood Sessions” shows a cohesive band playing quality, pure late ’80s US Hard Rock.
Songs like the anthemic “Kill For The Love Of God” or the catchy “If I Put My Love In You” and “Idle Worship” are huge in choruses and musicality. “Bringing It On” recalls 1986 Dokken, while the dark “Snake Eyes” and the rapid “Raising Cain” are more edgy.
War & Peace also explores the Melodic Hard Rock territory in the soaring “I Don’t Want To Be Lonely”, even close to American AOR during the chorus. A winner.
Jeff Pilson’s vocal delivery is excellent, very passionate but hauntingly melodic, whilst in the musical department the prize goes for Randy Hansen which slashes truly great guitar solos. The rhythm is solid as a rock with rounded bass lines and precise keyboard fills by Michael Diamond (the main concept-man behind War & Peace).
If you like the good US Hard Rock from the late ’80s (who does not?) don’t miss “The Flesh And Blood Sessions”, a rocking disc full of fire, soul and catchy melodies.
01. Kill For The Love Of God
02. Snake Eyes
03. If I Put My Love In You
04. I Don’t Want To Be Lonely
05. Nailed To The Cross
06. Idle Worship
07. Bringing It On
08. Raising Cain
09. What I Hide Behind
10. Heaven Knows (previously unreleased)
Jeff Pilson – vocals, guitar, keyboards
Michael Diamond – bass, keyboards
Randy Hansen – all guitar solos, background vocals
Vinny Appice – drums
Robin McAuley – vocals (9)
Darren Housholder – lead guitar (10)
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