Treat | Ghost Of Graceland | Japanese Edition
Release Year: 2016
Genre: Progressive Melodic Metal/AOR
Robert Ernlund – Lead vocals
Anders Wikström – Lead Guitars and vocals
Pontus Egberg – Electric Bass and vocals
Patrick Appelgren – Keyboards and vocals
Jamie Borger – Drums
Over the last 30+ years AOR, melodic hard rock, melodic heavy metal have certainly interchanged and mixed from time to time. In the United States and North America in general we have seen bands like Journey, Styx, REO Speedwagon, Survivor, Toto etc , gain world wide success on the AOR front. Some progressive acts from the 1970’s like Yes and ASIA even adopted elements of the AOR sound to remain relevant on the charts. Then something began to happen with the pop metal or glam metal started developing really high quality yet sometimes cheesy videos.
Some heavy metal and aspiring hard rock bands that did not want to be branded with the cheese factor morphed into Melodic Metal/AOR bands. Soon bands of the older guard like Bad Company with Holy Water, Joe Lynn Turner era Rainbow (1980-1984), later Honeymoon Suite, Bonham and Giant would begin to add some heavy metal elements, some progressive elements and the real backbone of melodic emphasis. By melodic emphasis I mean big range lead vocals and backing vocals to match note for note harmony to any given composition. Finally you had bands that were able to combine all these elements like Bad English, Firehouse, Steelheart, Mr. Big and Treat.
Although they may of went a little under the radar here in North America, Treat were huge in Europe and especially Japan. In 2016 Treat are better, heavier, and more melodic than they ever have been. Their Frontiers release Ghost of Graceland has proven that Treat are still a powerhouse band to be reckoned with. Ghost of Graceland proves that a band can age really well like a fine wine and still write, record and produce a album on their terms without it sounding dated.
Treat’s Ghost of Graceland has a little bit for the pure melodic rock, AOR, melodic metal fan. It is compiled 12 tracks for the standard release or 13 tracks for the exclusive Japanese Edition. This review is brought to you courtesy of the Japanese Edition. The band opens up the album with a straight away blistering yet melodic self titled track Ghost of Graceland. The track Ghost of Graceland starts with thunderous riffs and rhythm section before going into a more level melodic passage. Ghost of Graceland is very tight on the harmonious interchange between lead vocal to backing vocal.
Moving forward the vocals of Robert Ernlund – vocals are done with such precision and clarity. He has certainly maintained his range while many of his contemporaries have started to struggle. Anders Wikström: Lead Guitars and vocals Pontus Egberg: Electric Bass and vocals Patrick Appelgren Keyboards and vocals all join Robert Ernlund with a mini choir and such spot on accuracy throughout tracks like I Don’t Miss The Misery, Better The Devil You Know, Inferno and Alien Earthlings, etc… that carry a very heavy melodic riff and rhythm section that all focus around the backbone of the band Jamie Borger: Drums.
On Ghost of Graceland you will find many more straight away melodic metal, AOR and some heavy metal throughout the entire album. There is really only two true ballads Do Your Own Stunts and the other on the album being Together Alone, which on the Japanese Edition that I am using on this review, shows up as a piano based track as a extra Japanese release only at the very end. The one main focus I keep hearing on the album is the storytelling element within each song and composition.
Some have said it is all production. I disagree with that. I believe the band placed a higher emphasis on the writing and tracking thus making the production much easier. The band not only focus on good storytelling but they also place a emphasis towards the melody, vocal harmony and even the instrumental to vocal harmony elements. The sound is a modern sound no doubt. Not too many bands of their genre or community from 30 years back can really claim that their sound has progressed forward in maturity and structure. Treat are one of the few that have not went backwards. 30 years later they still continue to leave their mark on melodic metal/AOR/progressive rock. Treat Ghost Of Graceland gets a 4.5/5 for progression and maturity.
Video Used Courtesy of: (Frontiers Records Official YouTube Channel)
by Robert Brady