The Banshee is a creature of the small people, a female spirit, tied to a family, with red eyes from crying. She wanders restlessly around marshes and rivers and lets herself go into despair, producing heartrending wails, when a member of the protected clan dies or is close to death (practically the Irish and Scottish equivalent of the Latin “Llorona“).
In the cover image of “Banshees”, return to the recording scene of Paul Sabuwith a solo album, after nearly twenty-five years since “Between the light”, dating back to 1998, the being loses all supernatural connotations and is embodied in a busty dark lady, armed and with a decidedly dangerous air, who stands out against the background of a rainy metropolitan scenario a la “Blade Runner”.
Sabu is a singer who became an AOR legend (also for sales records), known both for his solo exploits and as a frontman for the Only Childband with which he made the turning point towards decidedly harder sounds.
He was also a producer of “artistucoli” from nothing like David Bowie, Alice Cooper, Madonna, Malice, Prince Tattoo Rodeo (just to name a few, because the list is very long indeed), which have filled his bag of a large number of gold and platinum records, as well as composer of soundtracks for cinema and television.
For his return to the solo scene, the American artist has opted for a content made of medium-level melodic hard rock, with a handful of songs that stand out, with a style closer to that of the Only Child rather than the previous solo production.
In the new “Banshees”, Sabu is assisted by the solo Barry Sparksbassist and guitarist who played in the UFO, Michael Schenker Group and dokkenas well as turnistan (Malmsteen, Ted Nugent), with whom he divides the effort in all instruments.
The sounds are generally warm and engaging, enhanced by the art of Sabuwhich instead of suffering the attacks of time presents the best voice ever, with unprecedented cavernous and hoarse tones that alternate with surprising high notes, although on some occasions the singing is decidedly over the top.
The album starts on the right foot thanks to a great piece such as “Blinded Me”. Over four minutes of melodious power, with guitar and vocal acrobatics, followed by the title track “Banshees” which, while winking at the AOR atmospheres of the eighties, is less incisive.
From mid time”Kandi”, of immediate assimilation, we move on to the pounding “Love Don’t Shatter” which is paired with the following “Back Side of Water”, two pieces of great impact, pitted one after the other.
It prevails over the jaunty rock’n’roll of “Skin to Skin”, of reminiscence poison, the eventful “Rock”, sleaze-inspired track.
On the other hand, it is not very engaging “Turn the Radio On”, but redemption is around the corner with “dirty money”, variegated song that gives another burst of energy thanks to the chorus in style ACDC extension.
After the rarefied “Midnight Road to Madness” the closure is entrusted to a frenzied woman “Rock the House” in which the voice of Sabu dominates on a riff with a NWOBHM flavor and electro prog digressions.
The platter certainly has some good: there is no shortage of level songs. But we have to be honest, the long wait was only partially rewarded.
“Banshees” is, in short, an album with ups and downs. Able on some occasions to excite, on others to leave a little disappointed or, at most, indifferent…