By Brandon “B-Mac” McCarthy
Last week, I had the pleasure of chatting with my guitar buddy Mike Orlando of Adrenaline Mob. I was thrilled to hear he was doing okay during this horrific time we are in, especially since he lives close to New York City, the nation’s epicenter for COVID-19. I was even more ecstatic to talk to him about his newest hard rock project, Her Chariot Awaits. He teams up with former Sirenia frontwoman Ailyn, who is known for her symphonic/operatic style of singing. The group has just released their self-titled debut, and I was curious to hear how a classical trained singer will fit into the swagger of the hard rock world. Orlando handles both guitar and bass duties for the record, as current bassist Brian Gearty joined the band after the record was completed. Rounding up the set was drummer Jeff Thal, brother of famed guitarist Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal. My hard soul is ready, as my chariot awaits.
As the thunderous music claps in on the opening song “Misery,” Ailyn screams to the top of her lungs. I was mesmerized not only by her tantalizing vocal capabilities, but how well she adjusted her style to something new to her. Orlando has cat-like reflexes with his swift riffs and solo. That is the way to kick off Her Chariot Awaits. “Dead & Gone” grabs the bull by the horns and throws it down with sheer force. Ailyn has incredible range, and she nails the part. Orlando thumps a simple bass line that goes along nicely with Thal’s cyclone of hammering. I have entered a rock ‘n’ roll ecstasy. We now head to “Screaming Fire,” which is riddled with tasty melodic hooks. What I enjoy about this song is Orlando’s natural guitar shredding and tuneful bass riffs. “Stolen Hearts” has the kind of beat that would belong on a Halestorm album. Ailyn is sultry and slick, captivating the listener the whole time. Orlando taps into his inner Tom Morello for a brief Rage Against the Machine inspired tap just before he blazes another passionate solo.
“Constant Craving” starts off with a symphonic feel that is filled with a metallic crunchiness. This is up Ailyn’s alley, showcasing her operatic/gothic range. Thal crushes it on the harmonious drumming, while Orlando digs into his bag of tricks and rips open a stylish ballad solo. I see this as their arena anthem tune. “Say No” returns Her Chariot Awaits to their hard rock lust. The drum work is bombastic, with Thal giving it a “less is more” approach. The guitar solo is both fast and mid-tempo at the same time. This is probably one of Orlando’s best riff off the album. We are now in the “Line of Fire,” where a smoldering guitar lick comes into play. This hot-blooded number charges with full force, hitting the listener where they did not expect it. Every time Ailyn goes into a new song, she quickly acclimates her voice to the tone of the music. Orlando is able to add a funky, R&B like bass riff that will be fun to dance to. “Turning The Page” has a 80s arena rock flow that is very Mötley Crüe, but modern as well. Orlando not only screeches a passionate riff, but he also adds his snarly voice, giving the song a metalcore feel (if only a little bit). Both he and Ailyn make a deadly pair.
“Take Me Higher” cranks things up full blast with intense drum beats provided by Thal. The bass goes “boom-boom-boom” as Ailyn and Orlando create beautiful devastation. Her high octave range in the end of the song could shatter glass. Her Chariot Awaits definitely goes higher into the stratosphere with this roasting flavor. “Just Remember” has a softer approach that is full of somber and emotion. Ailyn enchants the ears with her gothic approach to the microphone. Reminds me of the ballads P!nk would do. We come to the last song with “Forgive Me Dear.” Hard rock at its best, the riffs and vocals mesh together very attractively. Ailyn delights us with a ripping voice that is harmonious and sharp. Orlando is grease lighting with the licks and solo, going full warp speed. I feel the rock ‘n’ roll desire to the last note struck.
Her Chariot Awaits brings back that old school hard rock flavor that is smooth and crispy. Orlando not only wrote a magnificent album, but he mixed and produced it very well. I see Her Chariot Awaits as one of Frontier Record’s crowning achievements, next to Quiet Riot and Edge of Paradise. This debut album is the stuff that dreams are made of for any metal fan. Orlando and Ailyn go together like spaghetti and meatball; a delicious combo. I cannot wait to hear Gearty nail those bass lines created for him, and I especially cannot wait for this whole pandemic bullshit to pass and see their majestic splendor. To Her Chariot Awaits, I salute you. Horns up!!!
02. Dead & Gone
03. Screaming Misfire
04. Stolen Heart
05. Constant Craving
06. Say No
07. Line Of Fire
08. Turning The Page
09. Take Me Higher
10. Just Remember
11. Forgive Me Dear
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