RESTLESS (USA) – Alone In The Dark [Japanese Edition +3] out of print

BAD HABIT - Autonomy [Japanese Edition] (2021) full

As requested, here’s “Alone In The Dark“, the killer ’80s album from American melodic hard rockers RESTLESS, in this out of print Japanese edition including 3 worthwhile bonus tracks.
There’s a curious story about this release. The band who in 1987-1988 recorded the songs into this album was named FREELANCE, but the group never secured a record deal and the tapes were shelved.
However, almost a decade after, singer / songwriter Roger Sommers was contacted by the now defunct German label MTM to finally release these recordings, and they agreed to re-name the band as RESTLESS. This Japanese Edition not only includes extra songs, it also has better sound quality.
This is classic ’80s US melodic rock / AOR bringing to mind the likes of White Sister, Shy, a bit of Def Leppard and more. Terrific stuff.

“Alone In The Dark” consists of tracks from two original four song demos that were recorded on a 16-track home studio plus some later “proper” studio tracks with much better production. But the roughness of some of these demos isn’t a problem at all, believe me.
Musically this is ’80s AOR with some pomp influences, while the newer songs are more hair / arena rock, strongly influenced by Def Leppard with lots of keyboards.

First track “Guilty” (from the 2nd demo) is a killer melodic hard rocker in the vein of the best White Sister with an updated sound. On “Alone In The Dark” the lead vocals of Sommers sounds like a young Steve Overland, and except some ‘hair metal’ twists, the whole band sounds like the British FM here.

“Don’t Do It To Me” is real belter. It’s a great midtempo classic AOR tune with tons of keyboards, very British to my ears, similar to Shy or After Hours. Next, “Lightnin’ Strikes” is another highlight, a Journey-esque melodic semi-ballad that was featured on the mythical AOR Basement ‘unsigned bands’ compilation ‘Hot Night In The City’ in 1988 under their original name Freelance.
“Leavin’ You” is the first track featured here in the Def Leppard style. The rhythm guitars are fat and the chorus multi-layered. Strong rocker.

Now… the best track here in my opinion. “Keep The Fire Burning” is pure ’80s pompy AOR with wonderful keyboards. Define AOR: this song! This one alone worth this disc.
“Painted Lady” is one from the ‘old’ recordings. A keyboard driven melodic rock full of energy and attitude.
On “I Don’t Wanna Want You” the band decided to write a Foreigner-style balladry, and don’t disappoint. Of course Sommers isn’t Lou Gramm but he does a really good job.

“Body To Body” links straight to Def Lepp. Big choruses and arena rock vibe. Compared to Blue Tears too.
“Feels Like Love” has a definite pomp feel with ‘that’ pulsing rhythm section, bright keyboards and big harmonies. An early ’80s influenced track in the Roadmaster style.
The emotional ballad “Willing” close the regular edition of this release. Grand piano and orchestration, featuring a tight vocal performance.

The CD was released in Japan in 1999 featuring 3 juicy bonus tracks (not listed on the back cover). The first, “What Do You Know About Love” is from the last recording period, Def Leppard meets Billy Squier with a bluesy melodic rock touch and huge backing vocals.
Next, “Carry That Weight”, is a sweet acoustic based ballad that increases the tempo in the Damn Yankees style, very early Nineties. I like this a lot.
Then the last of the bonus “Lay Me Down” follows the melodic rock pattern of opener “Guilty”. A gutsy track with big, big guitars.

Even when production isn’t first rate at times, all this material is very well rounded and sounds absolutely professional.
Produced by Roger Sommers itself, during the ’80s he has been studying sound engineering and that’s evident here, now he’s a well-respected studio man working with Saga, Jamie Rowe and others.
The personnel involved are all accomplished musicians, including guest appearances by Chuck Wright (Giuffria, House Of Lords) and Jeff Scott Soto on backing vocals.
This is a pure ’80s bliss. Don’t miss it.
HIGHLY Recommended


01 – Guilty
02 – Alone In The Dark
03 – Don’t Do It To Me
04 – Lightning Strikes
05 – In Your Eyes
06 – Leavin’ You
07 – Keep The Fire Burning
08 – Painted Lady
09 – I Don’t Wanna Want You
10 – Body To Body
11 – Feels Like Love
12 – Willing
Japan Bonus Tracks:
13 – What Do You Know About Love
14 – Carry That Weight
15 – Lay Me Down

Roger Sommers: Lead vocals, Guitar, Backing Vocals
Michael Lord: Keyboards, Backing Vocals
Jason Orme: Guitar
Scott Polluck: Bass
Danny Lux: Drums
Jac Mandel: Guitar
Bruffie Brigham: Bass
Mark Bennett: Drums
Chuck Wright: Bass
Jeff Scott Soto: Backing Vocals


Out of print

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