Anmeldt av Jens Nepper
(Rhino Records, 2017)

Karakter: 5.5/6

Montrose cover.jpgThe legendary and sadly missed guitarist Ronnie Montrose was not only a marvelous composer and musician, but also a visionary whose style of playing and way of crafting riffs were innovative and groundbreaking. Before he died, he was working on an album entitled 10X10 where the idea was to whip up ten songs and then record them with ten different singers. With bassist Ricky Phillips (Bad English, Styx) and drummer Eric Singer (Black Sabbath, Kiss, Alice Cooper) in tow, Ronnie embarked on this magical musical journey but was unable to complete the album due to his untimely passing. Fortunately, Phillips took it upon himself to complete the album and I will forever be grateful to him for that. Enlisting the help of renowned and highly talented individuals such as Sammy Hagar, Rick Derringer, Edgar Winter, Joe Bonamassa, Steve Lukather, and others, 10X10 is finally out and is a blistering tour de force.

The songs are incredibly varied and memorable. Not a single riff comes off sounding redundant. At no point does the band merely go through the motions. Razor-sharp, tight, and to the point, but always with a lot of groove and soul to it. While the Montrose/Phillips/Singer constellation is firing on all cylinders, every other contributor (regardless of whether we are talking about Glenn Hughes, Eric Martin, Phil Collen, Tommy Shaw, or any of the other insanely skilled musicians that appear on the disc) are superb and deliver every damn note with passion and conviction. The crazy thing is that while all the participating artists possess a sound and style of their own, the tracks all flow together perfectly and 10X10 is cohesive and coherent all the way through. Amazing stuff! Rarely has a record sounded so lively and dynamic. Filled to the brim with great hooks and an authentic hard rock vibe that strikes the perfect balance between vintage and modern, 10X10 is a dream come true for any self-respecting fan of quality hard rock. I will not bother singling out any favorite cuts or highlights simply because the album is meant to be experienced as a whole and in its entirety.

As with most other releases on Rhino out there, the cover artwork and packaging and so on are quite nice and the CD is housed in a beautiful digipak. On top of that, the liner notes are thought-provoking and interesting. 10X10 is one of those albums that one ought to listen to on a proper stereo as it shines and sparkles, and if you play this loud enough, it actually feels as if Ronnie Montrose and his cohorts are performing right in front of you in your own living room. Regardless of whether you are into Montrose, Gamma, the Edgar Winter Group, or just quality (hard) rock in general, 10X10 is mandatory listening. We may have lost a legend, but his music lives on and 10X10 is proof that Ronnie was as passionate and emotionally engaged in his song material toward the end as ever before. Albums like these are a rarity nowadays and you owe it to yourself to check it out.



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