AGE OF REFLECTION – A New Dawn (2019)
In early 2013 Carl Berglund and his old bandmate Jan Skärming decided to fulfil their musical dream, writing songs in the style of 80s rock giants. These were songs with emotional harmonies from pure British AOR, with the power of American Hard Rock, sprinkled with hooks from the new era of Swedish melodic rock.
Then AGE OF REFLECTION born, or call then simply A.O.R.
Now they are releasing “A New Dawn” tomorrow via AOR Heaven, where they have perfected their pure AOR melodies to the maximum.
Perhaps this album should’ve been titled ‘Emotions’… each song here hits hard into your AOR Heart. The melodies, the performances, the way each title on this album has been arranged – all was done with attention to detail to trigger and emotion – more exactly, and ’80s emotion from the classic AOR genre.
You have that classic ‘intro’ with ‘Aurora’ and its ethereal synths, then ‘A New Dawn’ brings back that elegant AOR sound so hard to replicate nowadays. Then ‘Stay With Me’ delivers the necessary melodic rock punch: cool guitars, busy rhythm section and a catchy chorus to keep your foot tapping.
There’s fine lyrics to ‘Here I Stand’ and a midtempo / semi-ballad feeling, but soon after we have another explosive rocker on ‘Until Death Do Us Part’, very Scandinavian, very W.E.T. (Erik Martesson’s hand producing is evident).
‘What If I Break’ add acoustics to the mix for a nice album balance, then ‘Go’ starts with furious guitars and continue galloping with sharp riffs and a solid solo.
Lovely synths opens ‘Never Alone’ with slowly builds into a terrific AOR midpaced tune crowned by a superb chorus / harmonies. Jeff Scott solo works comes to mind.
Then A.O.R. decided to make a vocer of Cutting Crew’s classic hit ‘(I Just Died) In Your Arms’… wow, this is a killer version for sure. This timeless song has been covered many times, but this is by far the best of all.
‘Write it on the Wall’ has some American melodic rock feeling on it, the way the guitars flow and the vocal arrangement, and for the end ‘Can’t Let Go’ offers just another shot of superb melodies and a late ’80s sound.
I can see (and hear) why these Swedes decided to call themselves AGE OF REFLECTION = A.O.R. is their thing, AOR is their heart, and ’80s their ears.
You’ll love ‘A New Dawn’, believe me, one of the Best AOR albums of the Year.
2. A New Dawn
3. Stay With Me
4. Here I Stand
5. Until Death Do Us Part
6. What If I Break
8. Never Alone Again
9. (I Just Died) In Your Arms
10. Write It On The Wall
11. Can’t Let Go
Lars Nygren – lead vocals
Jonas Nordqvist – lead guitar, backing vocals
Carl Berglund – guitar, backing vocals
Jens Rüttgeroth – keyboards
Jan Skärming – bass, backing vocals
Peppe Vikman – drums, backing vocals