THUNDER – Behind Closed Doors [2-CD Expanded Edition Remastered]

THUNDER - Behind Closed Doors [2-CD Expanded Edition Remastered] full

Here’s another request fulfill: “Behind Closed Doors [2-CD Expanded Edition Remastered]” by British Melodic Hard Rock giants THUNDER.
“Behind Closed Doors” was Thunder’s third album, originally issued on 23rd January, 1995. A #5 UK hit, it was produced by the band’s Luke Morley in conjunction with Mike Fraser (famed for his work with AC/DC, Aerosmith and Metallica, among many others), and features the singles ‘Castles In the Sand’, ‘River Of Pain’ and ‘Stand Up’.

Following the departure of the band’s original bassist Mark “Snake” Luckhurst in December 1992, ‘Behind Closed Doors’ is the first (and only) Thunder album to feature his replacement Mikael “Micke” Höglund, who joined in February 1993.
After recording some initial demos of new material in London, Thunder began pre-production on their third studio album in 1994. Mike Fraser, who had previously mixed the band’s debut album Backstreet Symphony in 1990, returned as the main producer for ‘Behind Closed Doors’ alongside lead guitarist and primary songwriter Luke Morley (Fraser also engineered and mixed the record).

Then the band flew out to Atlanta, Georgia to begin recording of the album. Speaking about the decision to record the album in the United States, Morley explained that it was “a last-ditch attempt to motivate Geffen”, the band’s American record label, who he claimed had failed to support previous release Laughing on Judgement Day. However, the band’s A&R representative John Kalodner later left Geffen for Sony Music Entertainment, and the album was ultimately not released in the US.
However, ‘Behind Closed Doors’ resulted very successful in the UK, Europe and Japan, away from the US grunge climate.

All I can say is: Kudos to Thunder.
For not selling their souls to the alternative trend of 1995, instead remaining faithful to the true Melodic Hard Rock style, and in between, releasing in ‘Behind Closed Doors’, one of the best albums of their career.

When I first heard ‘Behind Closed Doors’ upon its release in 1995, it literally blew me away and it still remains among my favourite Thunder albums. The songwriting is largely more varied than before, resulting in a few new tricks to be heard.
The album’s opening number is one of the heaviest tracks in the Thunder catalogue. It has a strong Zeppelin influence, both in the pounding drum style and the way keyboards are used to give things a slightly Eastern flavour.

‘Fly On The Wall’ and ‘Too Scared To Live’ have strong funk / blues influences: the former makes excellent use of a horn section and soulful backing vocals while the latter has a slightly bluesy vibe during its brief chorus sections, but the verses show a far funkier style than Thunder have previously attempted. The track’s bluesiest vibes come courtesy of a couple of really smart guitar solos.

There’s plenty of other stuff from ‘Behind Closed Doors’ that’s instantly familiar. It’s lighters in the air time for ‘Castles In The Sand’, a big stadium number, very similar to ‘Love Walked In’ (from ‘Backstreet Symphony’). While very much a tried-and-tested formula, it represents one of the things Thunder were always best at.
The slower rockers of ‘I’ll Be Waiting’ and ‘Preaching From a Chair’ feature Bowes’s strongest vocal performances (again tapping into his inner Paul Rodgers).

‘Ball and Chain’, ‘River of Pain’ and ‘Stand Up’ are full-on punchy rockers, while ‘Till The Rivers Run Dry’ features a more acoustic, laid back band.
‘Future Train’ begins with an acoustic flourish, before developing into one of the album’s best hard rock workouts. It makes use of a swaggering guitar riff, which works excellently when coupled with fantastic harmony vocals on the chorus. Danny Bowes’s vocal is superb throughout.

This double-disc digitally remastered reissue now features a bonus CD of 16 tracks that originally appeared as single B-sides or bonus tracks, including live versions of the hit singles ‘Low Life In High Places’ and ‘Love Walked In’, a demo of ‘Dirty Love’, plus covers of The Faces’ classic ‘Stay With Me’ and Janis Joplin’s ‘Mover Over’.
If you’re a Thunder fan, you’ll already have lots of these extras on your dusty old CD singles, but it’s always good to get things rounded up and released in one package.

THUNDER - Behind Closed Doors [2-CD Expanded Edition Remastered] back

The best of the bonus materials, live acoustic renditions of ‘River of Pain’, ‘Stand Up’ and ‘Castles In The Sand’ really highlight the strength in Thunder’s songwriting when they’re on form, not to mention the effortlessness behind Danny Bowes’ vocal delivery.

With or without the bonus material, this album is first rate, however this 2-CD remastered reissue done in a Bad Reputation Records fashion is excellent; better sound dynamics and great bonus material.
“Behind Closed Doors” really needs to be as fondly remembered as Thunder’s two preceding albums. It clearly represents a band at their absolute strongest.
HIGHLY Recommended

Disc 1: Original album remastered
01 – Moth To The Flame
02 – Fly On The Wall
03 – I’ll Be Wainting
04 – River Of Pain
05 – Future Train
06 – ‘Til The River Runs Dry
07 – Stand Up
08 – Preaching From A Chair
09 – Castles In The Sand
10 – Too Scared To Live
11 – Ball And Chain
12 – It Happened In This Town

Disc 2: Bonus Tracks / B-sides
01 – Low Life In High Places (Live At Hammersmith)
02 – Move On
03 – Everybody Wants Her (Live)
04 – Does It Feel Like Love? (Live)
05 – You Don’t Know What Love Is (Demo)
06 – River Of Pain (Live Acoustic)
07 – Stand Up (Live Acoustic)
08 – Castles In The Sand (Live Acoustic)
09 – Move Over (Live)
10 – One Pretty Woman
11 – The Fire Is Gone
12 – Life In A Day
13 – In A Broken Dream
14 – Love Walked In (Live)
15 – Dirty Love (Demo)
16 – Stay With Me

Danny Bowes – vocals
Luke Morley – guitar, production
Ben Matthews – guitar, keyboards
Mikael Höglund – bass
Gary “Harry” James – drums
additional musicians:
Tom Keenlyside, P. Baron, Derry Byrne – horns
Bruce Dukov, Sheldon Sanov – violin
Denyse Nadeau Buffum – viola
Suzie Katayama – cello
Peter Lockett, Hazza Ling Hoi – percussion
The Suntan Sisters – backing vocals


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