July 13, 2021

You only need to see the name of Toby Hitchcock to know that you are in a safe pair of hands and a vocal masterclass is always guaranteed. Hitchcok has built up a solid reputation as a vocalist of renown with Pride Of Lions, the AOR band which was founded by the Survivor guitarist Jim Peterik. He has also run his own solo career with Changes being his third release following the excellent Reckoning which came out in 2019 with his debut, Mercury’s Down, released much earlier in 2011 but it only seems like yesterday, such is the passage of time.

Hitchcock has always been keen to use many of the musicians on the Frontiers roster and he has gone to several of the key musicians there to help bring his album to life with Toby providing the vocals with Martin Jepsen Andersen playing some extremely thrilling guitar, the ever reliable Alessandro Del Vecchio provides bass, keyboards and backing vocals with Nicholas Papapicco on drums. They give him exemplary backing as he displays his incredible vocal range in a pleasing mixture of AOR classic rock with burning intense rockers and thrilling ballads that have you searching for your lighter and you can just imagine the lit up stages around the world when he delivers these intense epics. He always seems to get the best out of the musicians he works with which is the mark of a quality musician with the songs, again, being superb melodic rock standards suffused with the usual melody and clever vocal arrangements.

There is just something about an American performing melodic rock and there are very few who can compete with the giants from the United States and Toby Hitchcock is up there with the best of them. Sometimes, you really need to just sit, close your eyes and listen to Hitchcock’s voice as it must be damned close to perfect and he seems able to handle anything that is thrown at him but it is with the passionate, boiling and burning ballads that he shows his true mettle and you realise just why he is held in such high regard by his peers.

As with his previous albums, Changes is a melodic rock delight and very much in the same territory as Foreigner, Toto and, of course, there is always going to be an element of Survivor and Pride Of Lions in there too. The songs are mainly in the standard four to five-minute range which allows Hitchcock plenty of time and scope to thrill with his voice and the rest of the band to catch the eye with their equally impressive performances too. The songs are intense and vital and there is even a cover with the band throwing in something of a curveball with an English version of the Greek hit Xano Esena by Despina Vandi and now titled Before I Met You but after the Toby Hitchcock magical treatment it has almost become his song.

Again, Hitchcock has delivered another faultless melodic rock delight which is what he does time after time.

Changes track list

  1. Forward (3:10)
  2. Before I Met You (Xano Esena) (4:49)
  3. Changes (4:16)
  4. Tonight Again (4:00)
  5. Garden Of Eden (4:00)
  6. Don’t Say Goodbye (4:40)
  7. Say No More (3:54)
  8. Run Away Again (From Love) (4:58)
  9. Two Hearts On The Run (3:26)
  10. On The Edge Of Falling (3:56)
  11. Losing You (5:03)