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In the early 1980s there was a sort of superband that never got the attention they deserved. The band was called BALANCE and featured the famous session musicians Bob Kulick on guitars, Peppy Castro on vocals and Doug Katsaros on keys. They released two albums as BALANCE and scored only one big hitsingle in the USA with the song "Breaking away".

Their music though was typical early 80s American AOR/Radiorock that should have been on top of the charts, because around the same time similar acts as SURVIVOR, JOURNEY and FOREIGNER scored massive hits while BALANCE had to split up after a couple of years because of the lack of success. However, what remains are two albums that are a must for the AOR fan. And now Renaissance Records has re-issued both albums on one CD.

There are 19 tracks on the CD and most of them are classic AOR tracks. Musically it is very close to FATK=FRANKE AND THE KNOCKOUTS, ALLIANCE. The lead vocals of Peppy Castro are a cross between Franke Previte (lead singer of Franke & The Knockouts) and Mike Reno (Loverboy).

There are many great songs on both albums. The best ones are "I'm through loving you" (cheerful keyboard driven uptempo AOR/Radiorocker in the best early 80s tradition like FATK meets ERIC MARTIN BAND), "American dream" (uptempo classic AOR a la FATK), "It's so strange" (early 80s AOR a la FATK), "In for the count" (great AOR keys and lovely chorus a la SURVIVOR, SHELTER), "All the way" (classic uptempo AOR rocker like PREVIEW/FATK), "Bedroom eyes" and "We can have it all". Also these last two songs are superb AOR songs and again in the style of FATK.

I can't help it, but the wonderful AOR/Radiorock of BALANCE is just so close to FATK. Only a couple of songs are less FATK based, such as "Undercover man" (the heaviest cut on the album, a hardrocksong like TYGERS OF PAN TANG) and the QUEEN influenced tracks "Haunting" and "On my honor".

If you're a fan of the early 80s AOR sounds of FRANKE AND THE KNOCKOUTS you can't avoid this release, especially now when all the recordings of BALANCE are on one CD. Get your copy through Renaissance Records by visiting their website at:

E-mail the record company at: or write to their postal address at: Renaissance Records, PO Box 681786, Franklin, Tennessee 37068-1786, USA.

(Points: 9.0 out of 10)