Persian Risk - Who Am I?

Persian Risk Who Am I? cover
Persian Risk
Who Am I?
Independent Release
Ha, time for a “third” Risk album, after 2012’s surprisingly strong “Once a King”. In reality this new Persian Risk, just like the previous US version is very much a glorified Carl Sentance solo, vehicle, but after-all he’s the only remaining member that seems to be actively pursuing “it” and if the songs he’s producing are good, then I see no “damage done” to the band’s legacy. While the band’s classic debut “Rise Up” will forever be remembered and hailed as a classic NWOBHM album that was however rather tame, musically, quite melodic and soft compared to the more out and out band of the movement, these “follow ups” tend to up the ante on the “metal” without, losing the sense of melody.
They rather seem to try to earnestly continue the bands style, as best they can into today, while culminating and instilling inside the songs the experience that Carl gained from continuing to have a successful career in music; aside from his solo material, Carl had spent the years following the band initial demise, writing, recording and performing with Geezer Butler, Don Airey, Krokus, Vinny Appice – to name just a few – as well as joining a theatre group with whom he secured the lead roles in a number of popular productions.
Aiding him on this pursuit are Wayne Banks (Joe Lynne Turner, Blaze Bayley, Robin Gibb) on bass, Jason Banks (Messiahs Kiss, Blaze Bayley) on guitar and Tim Brown (Martin Turners Wishbone Ash) on drums. The band have been playing festivals across the UK and Germany recently and even performed in Greece as recent as November 2014. There are also guest appearances from keyboard wizard Don Airey (Whitesnake, Deep Purple), Phil Campbell (Motorhead), Danny Willson & Tim Brown (Martin Turners Wishbone Ash) people who are no strangers to Sentance and just contributed their time and friendship with no second thought.
Taking a look into the tracks themselves:
In “Don’t Look Back” we’ve got this classic slab of NWOBHM, fast, furious, complete with a delirious chorus and tasteful fretwork, with some really heroic vocals from Sentance.
“Who Am I?” is a complete masterpiece, with an enticing melody and a haunting chorus with Sentance, channeling Dickinson and the track being a great, mid-tempo melodic, but at the same time really disturbing listen with a superb riff and also some impressive lead guitar work.
“My Creation” is a pretty good song, mid-tempo, atmospheric, with Sentance, really going for a completely different “vocal sound” but, it just has to antagonize, with the album’s best track and it does somehow come out, trailing a bit behind...
“In My Life” begins slowly and rather temperately, to just leave a bare vocal, impressively sustains most of the weight of the composition, interesting idea and darting arrangement…
“The Writing on the Wall” reeks of old school “Iron Maiden” with a bit of Saxon, thrown in for good measure… and it's “Shit Hot”… you’d wish Maiden had written something like this. Simple but effective.
“I Feel Free” is a bit more hard rocking but it’s played with such a metal attitude, that it sounds “too loud”… a hard & heavy track with a nice little solo that’s given a swift kick in the arse and it just goes and goes… it actually grows on ya too.
Well “Dark Tower”, is a known quantity, a remake of the classic, from the debut, Carl sounds, more like a man, these days rather than the much younger version of him (that recorded the original) that has a rather more untrained, unbound, youthful but still impressive and enthusiastic voice, with agility and nice timbre. I guess, the timbre, is what has changed the most, between the two versions... both are nice, but you usually like the one you’ve heard “first”, the best. This is not “bad” or worthless, by any means, however.
“Facing Your Demons” is kinda weird... here Sentance begins the song, with the chorus, sounding a bit like Ozzy... kinda going for that “nasal” thing, which Ozzy does, which is kinda annoying at times… while the riff of the song is beautiful and driving and the chorus ain’t too bad, the vocal kinda makes me cringe a bit! I expect Ozzy, to creep out of somewhere holding a bat sandwich…
“Calling For You” is another “known” quantity if you’re an owner of that “Rare” single that is… and the re-recording is again pretty good… a nice trip down memory lane, with the oldie, always winning, just because it was there “first”… rarely, will a newer, version be able to topple, an old one… only in cases where the orchestration is “made better”, where a song is actually way too badly recorded in the first instance and a second “take” manages to “fix” things up and offer a much improved version…
Last on the album comes a rather bizarre one “I thought It was You” a rather lounge-y track, with sustained guitars that sounds too soulful – a bit like Jamiroquai with much better vocals… but then again didn’t Carl, employ their bassist on the previous album? Ha...
All in all, with the exception of the last track that feels a bit out of place, (lol) the album is another nice collection of songs from Carl Sentance who seems very productive and very able in churning out quality metal tunes, as it seems every couple of years...
I definitely hope he manages a hat trick with the next release and even goes beyond that, until then I will be enjoying “Keyed Up”, “Who Am I?” and all the previous stuff… a lot! Well Done!
PS: Would have easily given more but the 2 re-recordings seem a little lazy, on the other hand – they enable people that don’t have the singles to own nice versions of these songs without shelling out a small fortune.