Steadily building a reputation as a top-notch six-stringer with everyone from Michael Jackson to Alice Cooper has paved the way for what is looking like a successful solo career. The latest stop on that path for Orianthi is her third solo record “Heaven In This Hell.”
It’s an excellent album, but hardcore headbangers beware that for all its hard rock trappings and fleet-fingered soloing, it’s not a metal album. Orianthi rocks and rocks hard, but you’ll also find clear influences from the blues, country rock and unashamed pop. If that’s got you thinking in the ballpark of a feminine Joe Bonamasa, you’re not a million miles away.
Much has been written about women in rock – too much of it focusing on looks rather than musical talent – so it’s especially pleasing that for all her blindingly obvious visual appeal, Orianthi is an artist to be assessed solely on her skills. If you doubt that, take a listen to the dirty blues of ‘How Do You Sleep’ for some tasteful playing to match anything on ‘Sloe Gin.’
It sets a quality standard that is effortlessly maintained throughout. Tracks like ‘Rock’ that in less-skilled hands would veer too closely to American FM mediocrity are elevated to a different level by spectacular lead work.
Vocally, Orianthi is no slouch either, striking a fine balance between pop accessibility and the rich heritage of American folk and country. “Another You” has the potential to find equal favour with fans of Carrie Underwood and vintage Aerosmith – that’s a hell of a balancing act and it’s pulled off with aplomb. The crossover potential here is astronomical.
For anyone who likes their rock with a lighter touch, this is highly recommended.