This is probably one of the most obscure AOR/Pomprockalbums ever! Besides, it is an undiscovered classic from a band out of Central Illinois, USA. The band is called RATHSKELLER and their only independent release 'Intro' is mega rare. RATHSKELLER was put together in the early 80's by a group of guys who played gigs around the University of Illinois at Champaign, Illinois.
Musically the album contained high-class early 80s AOR/Pomprock in the style of bands like ROADMASTER, THRILLS, SUGARCREEK, LE ROUX... The quality on this gem is very high and the songs are as good as mentioned similar Pomp/AOR bands from the early 80s.
The first song "Intro" is a very exciting instrumental intro with some wonderful keys of keyboardist Jay Penn. Then it starts with the track "Verge of insanity", a great uptempo AOR/Pomprocker a la ROADMASTER, SUGARCREEK... with some wonderful classic piano-keys. The following track "Writing on the wall" has some more classic AOR keys to offer and develops into a classic 80s AOR/Pomprocker that brings memories of the second QWEST album.
"Children of today" continues the style created on the first couple of tracks. This song is another classic uptempo AOR/Pomprocker that sounds like a mix between AVALON ('Everyman is a king'), ROADMASTER and CINEMA FACE. The classic AOR/Pomprocksound is continued on the next track "Too much love", a lovely pomprockballad that is very much in the mould of TOUCH and the last AMERICAN TEARS album.
Side-B opens with "Power of love". This is different and less Pomprock orientated than the tracks on side-A. Nevertheless a great track. "Power of love" is a keyboard driven uptempo AOR/Radiorocker a la PRISM, DAVID ROBERTS... The vocals and keys in this song also remind me very much of SURVIVOR circa 'When seconds count'.
Then we get to hear the best track on this album. "She loves me not" is a fantastic uptempo classic 80s AOR rocker with a driven rhythm a la PRISM and THRILLS. The last 3 tracks on the LP are not as good as the rest, but still enjoyable for the AOR/Pomprockfan. "Big time" is a nice midtempo harder edged Pomprocker. "Something's gotta change" is uptempo AOR/Pomprock that could have been on the third ('Up') LE ROUX album.
Closing track "Hot summer rock & roll" is the only average song, a simple rocker that sounds like a cross between HUEY LEWIS and the second SILVER CONDOR. But this is the only weak track that sounds totally different than the rest of this wonderful AOR/Pomprockalbum.
'Intro' of RATHSKELLER is
an undiscovered AOR/Pomprock classic release from the early 80s. I think
it will become a collector's item in the next coming months and people
will look for a copy of it. If you ever see the LP (printed in a very limited
edition), you're a lucky guy and you can easily buy this AOR gem.
Last thing I can say is that if you're a fan of 80s AOR/Pomprock and you don't have this classic RATHSKELLER album, there is only one thing you can do. Put RATHSKELLER on top of your wantlist!
(Points: 9.0 out of 10)