OK, here we go with the review...
Dave Pontrello Ego Project "At Christmas Time" CD Review.
First I'd like to thank Dave for submitting his CD for review. Thank You Dave!
The rocking out and updating of classic Christmas music is a holiday tradition, every year the hottest new artists' of the day release a Christmas album, heck even Justin Bieber released a Christmas CD last year. A couple of my favorite Christmas CDs are the Elvis record from 1956 and the Nat King Cole Christmas record from around that same time frame. Those 2 CDs always find their way into my CD player every year around Christmas.
(whoops did I mention Justin Bieber? sorry...)
But a metal band from way back in the day called Savatage decided to take classic Christmas tunes and turn them up a notch, retro-fitting them with loud distorted guitars, pounding drums and soaring vocals, resulting in Christmas music that even hardcore rock fans can enjoy. The Trans-Siberian Orchestra does a big tour every year around the holidays
A talented local musician named Dave Pontrello had the desire, the talent and all the in-studio know-how to produce a Christmas CD of his very own. The end result is a sound similar to the Trans-Siberian Orchestra but the biggest difference is Dave did the CD ALL by himself!
The CD is an admirable and impressive achievement to say the least...
Dave is a one man musical machine, he performs (most of) the vocals, percussion, keyboards and all of the strings on "At Christmas Time".
Through my experience most bands have a hard enough time recording their music in-studio. The band also needs to pay top dollar to recording studio technicians who record, mix, master and produce the music CD.
It's very important to note that on top of the instrumentation Dave did all the recording studio work without very much outside help. Anyone who's ever been in a recording studio during a music mixing session knows that it takes long hours of droll and tedious work, it's not an easy job. It's takes alot of patience and skill that's why most bands pay people to do that kind of studio work.
OK now to the music on the CD...
The first track, "Do You Hear What I Hear", has a definite rock sound and feel throughout, the drum track is great! The bass is mixed out front without a lot of treble, being a bassist I prefer this bass sound on the music I listen to. The sound and feel of the bass reminds me of Geddy Lee. I really enjoy the vocal breakdown 3/4 of the way through the song and the keyboard outro is cool. Great Opening Track!
"At Christmas Time" is an original Christmas song written by Dave. It's surprising and very impressive that Dave still had enough time and creative juice to write and include an original song on his CD.
The feel and sound of this song reminded of Rush, a band that I have always been a big fan of.
The third track "We Three Kings Of Orient Are" contains some amazing vocal and bass sounds. The rocked up reworking of this classic is outstanding.
"Angels We Have Heard On High" features some killer electric guitar playing and some pounding drums. This track will get you rocking around the Christmas tree!
The 5th track "Linus and Lucy" is a cover of the classic Peanuts cartoon theme. I've always been a big fan of the Peanuts so I enjoy Dave's cover of this classic, melodic song. Dave's version is rocked up and it includes a really cool jazzy electric bass breakdown right before the ending. The electric bass takes this song out as well with some great soloing!
"You're A Mean One Mr. Grinch" was also reworked in Dave's rocking style on this CD. This is another song I've always loved and Franco Vence does a great job singing the humorous lyrics on this song.
The 7th track is a must for any rocking Christmas tribute CD. Most familiar as "Little Drummer Boy" "Carol Of The Drum" is a great song to highlight the drums and Dave shows his chops and skill at playing the drums on this song. Great Rocking Outro!
This CD ends with "Joy To The World"
Great CD! I once again want to Thank Dave for submitting his CD for review.
CD Credits are as follows: Dave Pontrello: All instrumentation, Engineering, Production, Cover Art and Photography. Jessica Pontrello: Backing Vocals on "Angels". Michael Cox: All Vocals on "Do You Hear". Robert Andalora: Lead Vocals on "Kings" and "Joy". Franco Vence: Vocals on "The Grinch"
I've been told that Dave has a few copies of this left to give away, look up Dave on Facebook and request your copy from Dave today and be ready to Rock Around The Christmas Tree with Dave and his Ego Project! Dont forget tell 'em JoTell sent ya!