It’s been a year and a half since Chez Kane released her debut self titled solo album and took the hard rock world by storm, Even though there’s no shortage of great female artists in rock right now Chez is revitalizing a style of rock music that has faded over the course of decades: The 80’s style female rocker. A style that became defined by artists like Vixen, Pat Benatar, Femme Fatale, Lee Aaron, Lita Ford, Joan Jett, Scandal, Saraya, and 80’s era Heart. Chez is carrying the torch for those artists and is taking that style into the future. As was the case with Chez’s first album, her latest release Powerzone is produced by Crazy Lixx frontman/ musical mastermind Danny Rexon who wrote and performed the music on all the songs, Danny is nothing if not consistent in his output, able to write hard rocking songs with incredible melodies the calibre of what Def Leppard displayed in their prime and the combination of Danny’s song-writing with Chez’s incredible voice is a combination to be reckoned with. They are simply dynamite together, Danny’s style is all over these albums but he’s careful enough for the most part to give these songs their own identity and avoid sounding like a Crazy Lixx album with a different singer.
Powerzone loses nothing of what made the first Chez Kane album great, But like any great follow up should do the album expands it’s musical reach. One thing I was hoping for from this album is a good power ballad and album opener “I just want you” gives you exactly that, which starts with some great keys before breaking in with a great guitar intro, things slow down when Chez’s voice kicks in before building to an epic chorus, It’s easy to see why this song was picked as a single. It’s not far from being like the better songs Heart did on their self titled album and it’s follow up Bad Animals.
“(The things we do) when we’re young in love” is the sort of feelgood rocking anthem that musically fits somewhere between Vixen and Bryan Adams, it’s the sort of song that would make a great addition to the soundtrack of anyone’s summer playlist, this song is catchy as hell and fun. “Rock you up” is like Body Rock era Lee Aaron meets Hysteria era Def Leppard with a dash of Danger Danger. The groove of this song with its mid tempo drums and background vocals are very Def Leppard inspired, this song has a good danceable rhythm that will get you moving.
“Love gone wild” starts with bright keys mixed with horns, This song (minus the brass instruments) reminds me quite a bit of what Femme Fatale did on their first album, great rhythm progressions with rocking vocals. It also features a great saxophone solo, something I love that Chez utilizes in her albums because it was part of songs in the 80s and really works well with melodic rock. “Children of tomorrow gone” is simply breathtaking, it’s one of the prime examples here where we see Chez and Danny expanding her sound. The song starts off with a semi -Jim Steinman piano melody that wouldn’t be out of place on Meatloaf’s Bat out of hell 2, keys and drums kick in and I think bagpipes…Bonnie Tyler meets Meatloaf is the way I’d loosely describe this song, Chez’s vocals, the composition of this, it’s just impressive. It’s not one that would likely be a single but it’s still from a performance perspective one of the most impressive songs on the album.
“Powerzone” is where you see Danny in full glory, This track could easily be a Crazy Lixx song if he sang on it. Excellent riffs and charging melodies reign supreme in this song, Chez’s vocal delivery really helps make an already great song better. This song is energetic and will no doubt be spectacular live, there’s a great guitar solo in this as well. “I’m ready (For your love)” is a change of pace, this song has elements in the guitar playing that slightly remind me of “Cat scratch fever” by Ted Nugent but mixed with Thundermother, there’s a down and dirtier quality to this song, Bar brawl ready and yet despite all of that it still has enough of Chez and Danny’s style that it doesn’t seem out of place.
“Nationwide” brings things back to the guitar and keys driven style that is the signature elements of Chez’s music, this song has the sort of proud career ambition lyrically that “Rocket on the radio” showed on her last album, a musical mission statement. “Streets of gold” almost treads Chicago territory in a slower tempo ballad, I think this would’ve gotten the music video treatment back in the early 90s. Chez’s voice really gets to flex a bit more here with the breathing room this song gives her, plus it’s got a great guitar solo. “Guilty of love” is another track that impresses the hell out of me, it starts out with some almost Journey sounding melodies between the keys and guitars, musically it sounds somewhere between Journey, Vixen, and Lee Aaron. Chez does an incredible vocal performance in this song that really explores her range probably more than any song on the album, but what I really want to compliment is that this song is over 8 minutes long and the last half of it is just music without vocals and it’s jaw dropping in it’s melodies, playing, and how it keeps you invested in what’s being played during that time.
I’m really impressed that Chez and Danny pushed the envelope with this one while keeping the core of her sound in tact, These two can do no wrong and they have undeniable musical chemistry. Powerzone only further cements Chez Kane’s place as one of the most exciting artists of the modern era, Her talent as a vocalist is undeniable and two albums in she’s doing a killer job of carrying the torch for the style of rock n roll she represents.