With that being said, Hole in the Sun is a hard rock album with flourishes of radio friendly pop to entice the fragile ear to some heavier elements. Night Ranger have and probably will always be a hard rock band at heart . . . God bless ‘em, and this new disc doesn’t stray too far from the bands original formula. Though, what I did find most enjoyable was that these guys didn’t hit me with a typical one-two punch. There are other musical aspects that snuck in from my blind side and tapped me on the shoulder to say, “Ha! I gotcha’!” And, those moments are always welcome to my listening experiences.
“Tell Your Vision” kicks the whole ride off with one of the ballsiest, hard rockin’ riffs that I’ve heard from these guys since “Don’t Tell Me You Love Me,” and let me tell you . . . it’s a killer! The guitar work has an almost nu-metal vibe, which may not sound complimentary but in this case, it most certainly is. What I found most compelling about this riff is the somewhat off kilter note changes that they throw into every other measure. It keeps the sound consistent, yet ever so slightly different every time through. Speaking of guitar work, the six string tag team brawl that occurs during the solo is outstanding. Jeff Watson and Brad Gillis simply unload with a flurry of passion, bouncing from left speaker to right and back again, filling the air with the virtuosity that should appeal to the gear heads in the audience. Jack Blades’ vocals still retain the warmth and nuance that has always fit Night Ranger like a glove. Just gruff enough to endear itself to the male demographic while sensual enough to draw the women to the front of the stage like a honey bee to a blooming rose.
“White Knuckle Ride” is a steady, rhythmic pummeling from Blades and drummer Kelly Keagy, who is terribly underrated as a drummer, singer, and composer. Waves of ambient synth wash across the background as the rest of the band crashes in to create an extra special amount of heaviness. The lyrics are very well stated about a fight against alcoholism, very descriptive and filled with excellent imagery. It’s a tune the cements the fact that I need to go back and pick up some of the earlier Night Ranger releases, because maybe . . . just maybe I’ve had the wrong impression about these guys all along. Other tracks of interest are “Drama Queen,” “Revelation 4AM,” and the title track.