You may recognise the name of Kent Hilli as the singer with the Swedish melodic rock band Perfect Plan, a sophisticated AOR group that has released two high quality albums of polished melodic rock gold very much in Journey and Toto territory. If you haven’t sampled this fine band yet then you are most definitely recommended to do so as you will be amazed at the sound, maturity and sheer quality of the band and, especially, the golden voice of singer Kent Hilli.
The band came together in 2014 and now is the time for Hilli to release his debut solo album which features eleven very personal tracks of delicious and perfectly delivered melodic rock. Hilli has great power and range plus his delivery is very smooth and easy on the ear and he comes across as a sort of Steve Perry meets Michael Bolton so he handles the heavy melodic tracks with aplomb with his range and emotion really showing through on the epic power ballads that he handles so supremely well.
Kent Hilli is also a remarkably astute man as he knows that having a rather special voice is simply not enough to carry a solo album and that he needs quality musicians around him and a set of songs designed especially for his vocal skills. The first step is the musicians and why recruit a team when you are already an acquaintance of the genius that is fellow Swedish multi-instrumentalist Michael Palace, a musician much in demand and leader of his own band simply entitled Palace. Together, they have created an excellent album that feels like a band and not a project even though there are only two musicians making the music with Hilli on lead and backing vocals with Michael Palace providing all instruments, backing vocals and, just to show his talents know no end, he has produced the work too.
Rumble is an album that could be from any period in melodic rock history from 1976 to 2021 as Hilli has tapped into that core vibe so essential to AOR so you have that old school, classic rock style mixed with a modern and fresh approach that makes this an album out of time and one to savour on every level. Occasionally, Hilli slips in to David Coverdale mode, especially so on tracks like Miss Up To Good, and when he introduces a thrilling blues edge to his delivery suddenly a myriad opportunities open up for him and I would dearly love to see him record something like Mistreated as his sumptuous vocals would bring another dimension to a song already well covered so many times by quite brilliant artists but this is a song that is so good that it can stand still many more versions. Similarly, when he opts for the power ballad he becomes a different artist altogether and even outshines Michael Bolton with a voice that drips honey and when he opens up then the hairs on the back of your neck stand up; simply listen to the stupendous Heaven Can Wait to experience the delight of a singer on peak form.
If you are a fan of Journey, Foreigner, Toto then you are going to love this fantastic melodic rock album designed on the very best of American AOR standards but given the typical Scandinavian twist to make it such a delightful record that you will never tire of hearing; two titans have come together and created real magic, do not miss out on this most excellent of melodic rock albums.
The Rumble track list
- The Rumble (Never Say Die) (5:10)
- Cold (4:38)
- All For Love (4:23)
- I Can’t Wait (4:52)
- Don’t Say It’s Forever (4:42)
- Miss Up To No Good (5:07)
- Heaven Can Wait (4:25)
- Does It Feel Like Love (3:50)
- Love Can Last Forever (4:35)
- Never Be Mine (4:42)
- Still In Love (4:26)