80's, Bluesy, Easy-Listening
"A few good or even very good titles cannot make forget an unworthy production and the rest of an opus whose interest leaves in doubt."
LOLOCELTIC (20.05.2019)  
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We will not go back over the phenomenon of the reformations of bands from the 80s and 90s that disappeared and resurrected with the help of the Frontiers label. But if we will not comment on the process, we cannot ignore the return of Tora Tora's. With their hard rock bluesy, the American band had its hour of glory, the time of two quality albums: "Surprise Attack" (1989) and especially, the excellent "Wild America" (1992). The return of the Tennessee quartet had already taken shape in recent years, particularly with the release of "Revolution Day" in 2011, an album recorded in 1994 which was victim of the grunge wave. Since then, Tora Tora had offered some collections of unpublished sessions from her first two albums, but nothing new. 

What is shocking when listening to "Bastards Of Beale", the newcomer, is its production totally unworthy of the time and the event. Anthony Corder & Cie seem to have recorded their new songs in a garage, which gives a certain authenticity to the whole but leaves doubtful in front of a crushed sound that barely lets you hear Keith Douglas' solos. Only Anthony Corder seems to be doing well, although time has slightly obscured his voice. However, the veterans have not lost the sense of the catchy chorus ('Sons Of Zebedee') and successfully propose some gaps towards the Mötley Crüe of the beginnings ('Silence The Sirens') or towards the lands of Led Zeppelin. Without really taking off, "Everbright" distills a groove typical of the airship, while the ballad "Lights Up The River" becomes folk and full of feeling for what is probably the top of this opus. Among the successes, we will also note the single "Son Of A Prodigal Son" which combines warmth and efficiency with country-rock accents allowing it to be one of the rare tracks worthy of the heritage of "Wild America".

Without being really bad, the rest suffers from a cruel feeling of linearity reinforced by the production of an incomprehensible weakness. Some tracks launch a powerful big riff but finally go round in circles ('Let Us Be One'), try to a little boogie without convincing ('All God Things') or let us guess a beautiful energy but without succeeding in getting out of the too raw and massive sound that suffocates them ('Rose Of Jericho'). Even the eponymous track, which is rock'n' roll, ends up becoming too repetitive on its final. As for the instrumental "Vertigo", if it surprises a little, its interest remains to be demonstrated, even if it highlights a little the quality of John Patterson's playing behind his drums.

Without being a resounding failure, "Bastards Of Beale" is nevertheless a disappointment in its entirety. A few successful or even catchy tracks are not enough to make you forget a good half of an album that can't convince you of the interest of this reformation. How is it possible to handicap an opus with such a production when you are called Tora Tora and you come back under the Frontiers banner? Here is a question that remains unanswered and the American quartet will have to quickly propose a revenge if they do not want their comeback to go unanswered by the fans.
- Official website

01. Sons Of Zebedee - 4:21
02. Giants Fall - 4:13
03. Everbright - 3:44
04. Silence The Sirens - 4:56
05. Son Of A Prodigal Son - 4:00
06. Lights Up The River - 6:00
07. Let Us Be One - 3:56
08. All Good Things - 4:12
09. Rose Of Jericho - 3:15
10. Vertigo - 2:32
11. Bastards Of Beale - 3:40

Anthony Corder: Chant / Guitares
John Patterson: Batterie
Keith Douglas: Guitares
Patrick Francis: Basse
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(1) COMMENT(S)    
I have to disagree with the staff reviewer on their review. Tora Tora are a very underrated band that should have been huge. On The Bastards of Beale album the only complaint is indeed in the production. However the songs on here are good to great and Corder's vocals are terrific. It is just more of a bluesy album with a few different things being tried. The songs are really good on here though and catchy. A fine comeback indeed.
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