Dark Eyes


Now, this is a surprise! Alien's new album, Dark Eyes, is the Swedish rockers' comeback […]
By Eleni Mouratoglou
September 22, 2005
Alien - Dark Eyes album cover

Now, this is a surprise! Alien's new album, Dark Eyes, is the Swedish rockers' comeback after 10 years of silence only interrupted by the members' solo works and some projects they interfered with.
Alien were formed by guitarist Tony Borg (Dolce Vita, E.F. Band, Viki Vaki) in 1987 and Jim Jidhed became the first singer of the band. The combination of the two gave birth to Alien (1988), a debut album of huge commercial success and profound impact on the European AOR scene that brought the band to the top of the genre along with Treat, Shy, Da Vinci, FM and others. Only One Woman, a Bee Gees cover, became a platinum single and Brave New Love and Feel My Love were included in a classic cult horror movie's soundtrack. That was The Blob (1988), a Chuck Russell's (director of Nightmare On Elm Street 3: The Dream Warriors) remake of the 1958 movie by Irvin Yeaworth.
Jidhed's departure to seek a solo career caused trouble to the band and the initial success was never repeated. He was replaced by Peter Sandberg in Shiftin' Gear (1990), then temporarily by Tommy Persson and Daniel Zangger Borch (ex-Shere Kahn) in Alien (1993) and Crash (1995). In the meantime Borg and Jidhed released their personal works and all the other often changing members of Alien got involved in numerous acts. [It's weird but it's the second time in just a few days that I run into Scudiero while searching a band's background. After Johan Fahlberg's (ex-Scudiero vocalist) promising debut with Jaded Heart in their latest Helluva Time release, I now found out that Conny Payne, Alien's former bassist, is currently in Mindsplit, a Progressive Metal band, with Scudiero frontman H.B. Anderson.]
In 2004 Tony Borg and Jim Jidhed decided to reunite and recruited keyboardist Mats Sandborgh, drummer Jan Lundberg and bassist Bernie Ek, who once was in House Of Shakira before they entered discography.
The result is Dark Eyes the first two tracks of which were mixed by Bo Reimer (Backstreet Boys, The Darkness).
The band claims that this album brands a return to their roots. So, I guess the listener expects pure 80's AOR. In reality Dark Eyes is not so restricted. Of course it belongs to AOR music but only in the not so strict meaning of the term. It's very friendly to the ear, soft Rock with some modern aspects in the acoustic guitar parts and Jidhed's vocals' style but the main influence is from 70's Rock. I would call Alien's work Post-Modern 70-ish Rock. Tony Borg expresses it perfectly at Alien's official site when saying that (to become an Alien) You have to have one part blues, one part symphonic rock, one part of 70's rock, one part of 80's rock, a bit of technique, two parts feeling and three parts pride!!.
Songs like Oh Sarah, Lethal Woman, Wild One (significantly heavier guitars here), Fire and Sherylee are quite typical Melodic Rock tracks but in general the feeling created is that we have to do with a late 70's Rock band with all the pompous keys and the characteristic choruses of that time naturally mixed with a touch of modernity. If one likes Magnum and Joe Lynn Turner's songs in Brazen Abbot's albums then he will probably enjoy Dark Eyes's richly scented sound.
Borg's guitar solos are discrete and effective while Jidhed sounds quite flat in the album's first songs but improves a lot later on. I shall note that the keys are definitely responsible for the final outcome. The tracklist resembles a pleasant and relaxing mid-tempo setlist anyone could have fun with in a cozy live Rock club.
In a word this album is nice. Perhaps disappointing for a Scandi AOR-core fan but definitely nice.
- Album Highlights: Dark Eyes, Oh Sarah, Lethal Woman, Wild One (great party atmosphere), Sherylee (substantial power-ballad) and the keys in Riding With The Wind.

7 / 10


"Dark Eyes" Track-listing:

Dark Eyes
Don't Go Away
Oh Sarah
Fallen Eagle
Lethal Woman
Wild One
Don't Fight It
Riding With The Wind
Are You Ready
Fire (The Game)

Alien Lineup:

Jim Jidhed - Vocals & Guitar
Tony Borg - Guitar
Mats Sandborgh - Keyboards
Bernie Ek - Bass
Jan Lundberg - Drums

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