Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Orion the Hunter|
Orion the Hunter
Genres: Pop, Rock, Metal
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Excellent Album--Should've Been Huge...
Robert J. Schneider | Tacoma, WA USA | 11/19/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"...but it wasn't. This record got unjustly overlooked, due to the lack of record company support at a time when all they wanted to focus on were hair-metal bands such as Quiet Riot, Motley Crue, and Ratt. Don't get me wrong, I do like those bands as well as many of their contempories, but Orion the Hunter did not deserve to be pushed out of the way by a system that rewarded controversy over musical artistry.Orion the Hunter was, as all of us review-posters on here know, the brainchild of former Boston co-lead guitarist Barry Goudreau, who was never given his due in Boston. He went solo in 1980 and then proceeded to form this band after having grown tired of Boston's interminable waiting-time between albums (which was largely as a result of founding member and guitar wizard Tom Scholz's monumental self-indulgency). Like many young men coming of age at a time when MTV was in its youth and Friday Night Videos was in its infancy, I became aware of Orion the Hunter when I first heard "So You Ran" on FM rock radio and saw the video in May of 1984. I immediately liked the song and loved the video, and was awestruck by lead singer Fran Cosmo's incredible vocal range. I almost bought the album on vinyl back then, except that at the time, I was leery about buying any full-length album on which I knew only one song. Unfortunately, it would prove to be my last chance to purchase it for many years afterwards, as the album was discontinued by 1985 and apparently not made available on CD until 1995. Of course, since no record stores I have been inside of have ever carried this CD, I was totally unaware that it had been released until seeing it here on Amazon at this time last year.Well, I finally purchased this CD from Amazon a few weeks ago, and now having just listened to the entire thing for the very first time, I must say that it's been well worth waiting for all these years. This is a progressive heavy-metal recording in all of the finest ways: it is musically complex while being tightly arranged at the same time, it is melodic but full of power, and it is thoroughly listenable while providing a good headbanging experience (especially on "Dreamin'", "Fast Talk", and "I Call It Love", which are the heaviest and fastest songs on the CD).Musically, the sound is similar to Boston (with a touch of Aldo Nova thrown in), but this is not Boston Redux: none of the album's 9 songs feels remotely like a retread of Barry's previous band. This is the case even though Brad Delp wrote four of these songs AND sings backup on three of them! Vocally, Fran Cosmo (whose real last name is Migliaccio--why do entertainers still feel the need to change beautiful ethnic names like that?) sounds more like Mickey Thomas of Jefferson Starship/Starship than he does Brad Delp of Boston--his range is higher than Delp's and has since only been matched by the great Tony Harnell of TNT. Every single song is good on this CD, and about half of them are very good. Two of them are power ballads; "Dark and Stormy" and "Joanne", which are both excellently done. The thunderstorm effects on the former should be cliche` by now, but they actually do fit in well within the song. The sound is crisp and clear; the production values are first-rate, courtesy of Mr. Goudreau himself. If you love Boston in particular and progressive heavy rock in general, then you should buy this CD; it's well worth its reasonable price.The inside CD cover mentions, below all of the credits, that ORION THE HUNTER charted at #57 on Billboard's Top 200 Albums chart after its debut on 5/19/84. It would have been much higher had the band's record company and management had done their jobs and promoted the darn thing in the first place. Oh, well...at least I own this album now! As I said before, it was well worth the wait. :)"
A magnum opus
Troy | the Netherlands | 08/05/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Two years prior to Boston's 1986 "Third stage" album ex-Boston guitarist Barry Goudreau's new group Orion (The Hunter) beat them to the punch with this awesome, one off release, which marked an astonishing improvement compared to his 1980 solo debut. On this occasion he was rejoined by vocalist Fran Cosmo, with a rhythm section consisting of bass player Bruce Smith (ex-Alice Cooper) and drummer Michael de Rosier (ex-Heart). To simply dismiss this wonderful act as a second-rate Boston spinoff would be both incorrect and unjustified. Firstly because they were an AOR band, whose music should not be likened to Boston's familiar brand of (non-computer/synthesizer generated) melodic/symphonic rock, and secondly because they were anything but second-rate.Orion's "The hunter" features a breathtaking demonstration of musical ability and superior songwriting. It is an AOR milestone with an ideally balanced sound no less massive and devestating than that of Tom Scholz's Boston. Fran Cosmo's performance on this album is phenomenal; his mighty, emotionally charged voice would give an airraid siren a run for its money (well, almost), although it's anybody's guess how much of this was achieved through studio magic. Brad Delp pitched in on backing vocals, while the keyboard end of affairs (organ, mellotron, memory moog, piano, synth programming) was handled by additional musicians. The album was produced by Barry Goudreau himself and recorded at The Power Station in New York.As for the songs: from the opening chords it is clear that the listener may prepare for greatness. "All those years" amply displays all of the elements that make this such a magnificent album. Amazingly beautiful melodies are delivered with pinpoint precision on the crest of a hard rocking wave, Fran Cosmo's stunning vocals rising above them like a beacon. At the latest from "So you ran" onward it is one killer chorus after another (with matching vocal harmonies). "Dreamin" is a fastpaced, steamroller of a track with a guitar solo that unfolds like an unstoppable force, "Dark and stormy" a piano oriented power ballad with appropriate special effects. While "Stand up" and "Fast talk" are your basic energetic, uptempo tracks, "Too much in love" stands out because of its Carribean touch. "Joanne" should have been a HUGE hit. Far from being the cliché "sentimental song named after a girl" it is a potentially classic rockballad in the finest Journey/Boston tradition. "I call it love" wraps things up in a higher gear, it's got the Loverboy seal of approval stamped all over it and a crafty piano interlude thrown in for good measure.A couple of years ago i was delighted to see this album released on CD (by the little-known label Razor & Tie), despite the fact that my vinyl album was still in mint condition. This is the kind of music you should hear in all its digital splendor. Trust me when i say that Orion dwarfs Goudreau's current band RTZ ("When you love someone" from Return To Zero's 1998 CD "Lost" is just about the only track that can favorably be compared with anything "The hunter" has to offer) and that it's as good as Boston ever was, or will be.Orion were as impressive as they were shortlived. Go buy their CD while it is still available, or live in sin for the rest of your life !A word of advice in closing: Kindly do not (mis)judge Fran Cosmo on the basis of his work on Boston's 1994 CD "Walk on". Here he was not given the opportunity to shine as he did on "The hunter".
Orion The Hunter....A Stellar CD!!
Curt A. Radabaugh | Rock Hill, SC | 02/17/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Like the other reviewers, I first heard "So You Ran" in the early 80's and immediately went and bought the cassette and I was amazed. It's the best of what any Boston fan could hope for and then some. Fran's voice is awesome, Brad's doing backup, Barry's playing guitar. Today, you can see both Fran and Brad singing for Boston!! I only wish they would cover some of the songs from this CD in concert! Anyways, this is a must have!"