Alta Reign – Mother’s Day (Rat Pak Records)Monday, 11th January 2021
Featuring ex-Savatage/current Trans-Siberian Orchestra drummer Jeff Plate and fellow TSO keyboardist Jane Mangini, Alta Reign is the culmination of an initial genesis thirty years ago finally coming to fruition in the form of a debut album for Mother’s Day. The sextet contains multiple guitarists, keyboardists, and lead vocalists in the ranks – ensuring a potent vocal/musical combination that sits in a classic melodic metal/hard rock style with plenty of power and progressive nuances.
A strong Savatage presence circa Gutter Ballet or Streets can be felt in the driving riffs and fluid keyboard strains of specific tracks – although the vocal harmonies at times come from more of a Kansas/Styx angle. Cuts like “Thin Red Line” and “Come Out and Play” grab immediate attention to build out through stellar musical mechanics, transitions, and supplementary stunning main melodies or supportive background harmonies courtesy of guitarists Tommy Cook and Collin Holloway. Extending arrangements with stronger progressive keyboard/drum interplay and dramatic narrative dynamics at times – it’s evident that the title track and the power ballad “Rise” will also gain attention, again promoting more of their old school 70’s/80’s influences a la Yes and Dream Theater. The commercial aspects of a song like “Let’s Go! (I’m in Charge Now)” through the addictive, helium-like vocal harmonies and supportive mid-tempo guitar/keyboard underpinning may remind certain ardent listeners of an act like New England, although the playful keyboard solo has a Jon Lord-like organ pumping energy to keep things slightly heavier. Additional TSO guitar support comes in from Joel Hoekstra and Chris Caffery through lead breaks on the title cut and “Rise”, while Jeff gets a bit of the drum spotlight on the shorter instrumental “ESC (Escape)” along with frantic bass, keyboard, and guitar domination that showcases more of their progressive, symphonic, and neoclassical abilities.
Mother’s Day as a labor of love puts Alta Reign head and shoulders above the normal ‘first’ record from a group. Obvious talent, decades of work put in through other bands and studio time, let’s hope that this is the start of something that maybe can grow as time allows. If you love melodic hard rock/metal with a bit of a symphonic/progressive flair, this will definitely please your tastes.