Gaelic rock-out from Lizzy sideman on home turf
O. Buxton | Highgate, UK | 06/16/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I never did buy Gary Moore's reinvention of himself - canny though it was - as a bluesman: he was always a hard rocker of that most fabulous seventies kind: big boots, tight jeans, mullet, foot to floor style of playing. Here we find him in pretty much his last incarnation on the wild frontier before crossing the great divide into sell-out land, where history records he would go on to pretend he *still* had the blues, despite scant evidence of ever having had them in the first place.On his way to the Wild Frontier, Gary Moore found himself at a cross roads: certainly, Heavy Rock wasn't just for hard men on motorbikes anymore - Bon Jovi had seen to that - but nor was it necessarily for a solely white audience either: Moore and his producer were clearly cognisant of the change ushered in by Aerosmith's collaboration with Run DMC on "Walk this Way" - alas all it culminated in during this session was a fairly lame rap remix of his excellent Easybeats cover, "Friday On My Mind". I suspect the remix hasn't made it onto the CD. No great loss.In other ways Moore was returning to his Irish roots - there is a definite Gaelic feel to the cover of Big Country's "Over the Hills and Far Away", the title track, and "The Loner", the last of which is an instrumental for the late Phil Lynott of Thin Lizzy. Alas, it comes nowhere near the outstanding "Parisienne Walkways" which Moore recorded with Lynott before Lynott's death, but which you won't find on this album.In any case I think this return to the roots was a good thing - certainly much more bona fide than the blues "renaissance" he would subsequently experience - and it sets this record apart from most of the others that were coming out at the time. Wild Frontier has elegant cover art, too - or at least would have but for the prominence of Gary's ugly scowling mug and his decidedly unconvincing balled fist.In any case well worth a spin."
Moore shows his heritage on this classic disc.
Jeremy Lynch | St. Paul, MN | 11/11/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In 1985, Gary went back to Ireland and played(for the first time since his teenage years) in Belfast. On Wild Frontier, his first studio album after that trip, Gary revisits his homeland in songs. This album was clearly born from his trip back home as many of the songs are about Ireland and even the music itself is steeped in his celtic roots.
The title track was originally intended to be sung by Phil Lynott(who also sang on two tracks on Gary's previous album, Run For Cover) but his untimely passing prevented that. The album itself is dedicated to Phil's memory and I think he would have loved the musical stories that are contained here.
The songs Over The Hills And Far Away and Thunder Rising are as much short stories as they are songs. They are stories of Ireland present(Over The Hills) and past(Thunder). The title track is a beautiful song obviously born from his love of his homeland. The Loner is an outstanding instrumental that really showcases Gary's style of play.
The guitar playing this album is incredible. It is passionate and, at times, understated. It is also worth noting that Gary has rarely sounded as at home on the vocals as he does here. I think this albums shows his maturity as a singer as well as a guitarist.
Wild Frontier is an essential Gary Moore album that should be in the collection of any fan of his."
Moore's last great album
Spatzi | Canada | 07/10/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It's really been sad to see the downhill ride Moore's been on since this classic came out in 1987. Never cute enough to make it in the vacuous 80's 'hair metal' scene (Ozzy once aptly said '...he has a face like a welder's bench') where image was more important than 'music, (See 'Whitesnake' and it's barbie dolls for prime example of what was 'cool' at the time), Moore would trade in the monster riffs and killer solos for the 'blues' in 1990, citing '....no more interest in trying to write hit singles.' as his main reason. Okay, Gary, we'll let you do your 'blues album' to cleanse yourself, but unfortunately, this incredibly boring 'blues phase' has continued for 15 years already, and each album is more watered down than the last. Gary has never been a 'blues' player. His forte is balls to the walls riffs and ripping metal solos. That's his talent. Leave the blues to the real players like Robben Ford. Even Gary's 'fusion' phase with Colosseum 2 was more believable than trying to be a 'blues player'.
'Wild frontier' has everything of the real Moore essence: crunching riffs, precise solos, great tone, and songwriting that doesn't make you wince, unlike some of his early work from 1983's 'Victims of the future'. Ex: who can forget the classic lyric from 'Murder in the skies': '...The Russians have shot down a plane on its way to Korea...' That was Gary trying laughably to be 'current', and make a 'statement'.
'Wild frontier' is the pinnacle of his 80's solo career. He was true to his roots, delivered some decent vocals, and the ghost of Thin Lizzy and Ireland is all over this album. The best Thin Lizzy album was 'Black Rose' from 1979, mainly due to Moore's symbiotic relationship with Phil Lynott, and 'Wild frontier', while not in the same class as that album, is at least in the same spirit, and his 'roots' come through on every track.
Follwing this lp, Moore was forced into trying to write hits, and hiring hack singers like Sass Jordan to do backing vocals to become more 'radio friendly'. You know it was going downhill just by looking at the cover and liner photos of his follow up lp, 'After the war', which should have been called 'After the hairspray'. What Moore needs now, is to do another album with a really good soul/rock vocalist like Glenn Hughes, and get back on track."