the REAL one
Specialists at Rock Candy Records have 'Remastered & Reloaded" all-three first albums from American melodic rockers 707, one of the most distinctive sounds of any band emerging from the late '70s. The rightfully titled "Mega Force" is the last from the bunch, a terrific slice of pure American '80s AOR, reissued by Rock Candy with 6 bonus tracks.
Nearly every band back in the day experienced a never ending stream of difficulties, a series of ups and downs that made even basic existence almost impossible. For 707 the situation was no different.
Their debut album produced an unexpected hit single, but Casablanca Records failed to fuel the fire and by the time they released a follow up album they were hearing rumours about the label’s unstable financial position.
Indeed, a third album was recorded but had to be shelved when Casablanca finally crashed and burnt (it was finally released 2 decades after unser the title 'The Bridge').
Amazingly, a life line was thrown by their old label boss Neil Bogart when he set up a new company, Broadwalk Records, and offered the band a fresh start.
With the addition of talented keyboardist / guitarist Tod Howarth (clearly demonstrating his influence on the record also co-writing) and recruiting a new lead vocalist / frontman, the incredible Kevin Chalfant, the band also received a leg up when they were asked to write songs for a new action movie, ‘MegaForce’, helping to give them much needed promotion and exposure. It was a tremendous opportunity, spoilt only by the movie’s lacklustre box office performance.
Opting to continue in a more forceful direction, the band’s sound evoked comparisons to Journey and Night Ranger, placing the emphasis on sharp riffs, keyboard flourishes and of course catchy choruses.
Speaking of true early '80s AOR, "Mega Force" includes really memorable songs.
Title track 'Mega Force', simply put, is one of the greatest AOR anthems of all times. Howarth's keyboard / synth runs are all over, the guitars bite, the chous is a blast and the lead vocals, oh my, Chalfant is a King here setting the tone for the rest of album.
'Can't Hold Back' is just another pearl with a melodic rock heart, a song destined for packed arenas.
More rocking is the punchy 'Get To You', then 'Out Of The Dark' slows things for an exquisite midtempo AOR melody and Chalfant's soaring work.
'Hell Or High Water' borders hard rock with an intense guitar / keyboard interplay, 'We Will Last' is another 24 Karat golden tune, while 'Hello Girl' is fresh and catchy with a terrific keyboard solo in the middle.
Another fantastic hook drive 'Write Again' to its terrific chorus, we have, again, an anthem in 'No Better Feeling', and a smooth classy ballad on 'Heartbeat'.
The addition of the awesome Kevin Chalfant and talented Tod Howarth plus a solid songwriting focused into mainstream AOR, resulted in "Mega Force" being 707's most successful album, reaching #129 in 1982. The band played for stadium crowds as the opening act for several successful acts at their commercial peak, including Loverboy, Scorpions, Rainbow, Ted Nugen and REO Speedwagon.
"Mega Force" is now regarded as a true underground classic, harbouring, as it does, a prime, melodic AOR sound to die for. This was a much needed remaster, including some juicy bonuses and a bright, balanced sonic treatment.
A Cult CLASSIC
01 - Mega Force
02 - Can't Hold Back
03 - Get to You
04 - Out of the Dark
05 - Hell or High Water
06 - We Will Last
07 - Hello Girl
08 - Write Again
09 - No Better Feeling
10 - Heartbeat
11 - Eagle One
12 - Mega Stomp
13 - Mega Force (Alt Version)
14 - Eagle One (Instrumental)
15 - The Float
16 - Mega Force (Live)
Kevin Chalfant - vocals
Kevin Russell - guitars, vocals
Tod Howarth - keyboards, guitars
Phil Bryant - bass
Jim McClarty - drums
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