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Produced by Leo and Bo Larkin

Original line-up:

Leo Larkin                - Guitar
Paul Dixon               - Bass
Mick Cavanagh       - Keyboards and Guitar
Stuart MacMillan    - Drums
Bo Larkin                 - Lead vocals and Keyboards


Save it
I'm getting out
Karen 1
I close my eyes
Is this the end
Miss you
Can you keep a secret


Classic 80s AOR with many keyboards, comparable to the 1985 album of FORTUNE and HARLAN CAGE. Also some Pomp influences like LE ROUX.

This mini-album of the band WINTERS REIGN is really one of the rarest and most obscure albums in the AOR history. I don't think anyone has seen a review somewhere else than on our website.

WINTERS REIGN released the LP 'The beginning' in 1987 and with a title like that everyone thinks that it was their debut album, but here is the big suprise. The band recorded before 'The beginning...' a mini-album somewhere around 1984 that is extremely hard to get. Checking the liner notes of the album, the band was managed in Ireland, so I may be wrong, but I think the band was actually coming out of Ireland!

Anyway, I also checked the line-up and saw that the band had a different line-up on this mini-album than the 'The beginning...' line-up. The brothers Larkin and Stuart MacMillan were not mentioned in the line-up of 'The beginning' album, although their names are printed as co-writers of the songs on that album. There are 5 bandmembers on the pictures on the mini-album, while there are only 3 bandmembers on the pictures on the 'The beginning' album. Pretty weird that the most important members of the band (lead vocalist, guitarist, keyboardist and drummer) were left off the 'The beginning' album.

Back to this mini-album. There are 8 tracks on the LP and musically I think it's even better than their follow-up 'The beginning'. This lost mini-album contains some brilliant pure classic 80s AOR with many keyboards, beautiful vocals and choruses as well as lovely AOR hooklines. Opener "Save it" is maybe one of the best kept secrets in the AOR scene. This is superb classy early 80s AOR/Pomprock that has influences of FRANKE AND THE KNOCKOUTS, BE TAYLOR GROUP, LE ROUX, TOUCH, ROADMASTER and SHELTER. Basically a Classic AOR song with keys, hooklines, harmonyvocals, classy chorus and a great guitarsolo, everything you want to hear in a classic AOR song!

Following track "I'm getting out" is more a Canadian typed uptempo AOR rocker with a pompous beat, a bit like QWEST. Then comes the first version of "Karen". This song is later featured in it's original version. "Karen" is a classic 80s keyboard AOR/Radiorocker that sounds like the perfect mixture between SURVIVOR, THE INNOCENT ('Livin' in the streets') and STEEL BREEZE circa 'Heart on the line'.

"I close my eyes" closes side-A and this is a nice AOR ballad, but the weakest song so far. Side-B starts with the original version of "Karen". This is followed by "Is this the end". This song has a super 80s AOR keyboardsound and a huge AOR/Pompchorus. "Is this the end" is a cross between FORTUNE (1985) and the old SHY. Next track "Miss you" is a good 80s keyboard AOR ballad like SHY again. Closing track "Can you keep a secret" is a fantastic pomprocker in the style of LE ROUX and ROADMASTER.

Basically this mini album of WINTERS REIGN is a great AOR album and very much recommended to those of you that are into this classic 80s AOR style. It's better than their follow-up 'The beginning...' and also much more 80s based with many more keyboards. Still, if you liked their 1987 album, you will love this mini-LP too. It will only be very hard to find and I think people will have to buy a lot of money to get an original printed LP copy. But it's a great AOR album, so you will not be disappointed.

(Points: 9.0 out of 10)
 P.S. I'll upload soundbytes of THE HEAT when someone out there asks me via e-mail or posts a message on our messageboard.

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