Published on December 31st, 2018 | by Justin G.
Devil’s Hand: Devil’s Hand (Frontiers)
The Frontiers label has a reputation for throwing together interesting collaborations between melodic rock veterans and hot new talent. Sometimes it works wonders, and sometimes it doesn’t. The latest “factory” project is Devil’s Hand, which pairs guitarist/songwriter/producer Mike Slamer (Streets, Steelhouse Lane, Seventh Key) and vocalist Andrew Freeman (Last in Line). The project name and cover art are interchangeable with any other Frontiers project this year, but the songs these two delivered are something much more memorable.
Slamer and Freeman basically deliver the perfect Winger album here. That melodic, soulful, just a tad bluesy kind of sound Winger had on Pull is the sound you hear on Devil’s Hand. Slamer puts his decades of songwriting experience to good use here, serving up melodic rockers with plenty of punch, and Freeman gives what is arguably his best performance to date, making full use of his range and power to put heart and soul into the album. There’s real chemistry here, which gives Devil’s Hand a bit more staying power than most of these types of projects.
Devil’s Hand is just a really well-executed melodic rock album. Check out “Rise Above It All” for the perfect snapshot of what the album is all about. “Falling In” and “Another Way To Fly” are also great, as is the slower-paced “Heartbeat Away.”
Time will tell if Devil’s Hand is a “one and done” project or an ongoing thing. Hopefully this will not be the last time we see Slamer and Freeman working together, because they capture that 1991-1992 melodic hard rock sound absolutely perfectly here. You could slide this album right alongside the classic Winger, Nelson, Giant and Hardline albums and not miss a beat.
Summary: Basically the best Winger album since Pull