Sunstorm marked the return from one of rock's best vocalist, Mr. Joe Lynn Turner! On Sunstorm's classic debut album, Turner returned to his mega-melodic "Rescue You" days, much to the appreciation of fans all over the globe. A perfect move judging the tremendous feedback the CD generated, something Turner repeated with the jaw dropping "House of Dreams." The last one being one of the best melodic rock albums of the decade!
Both albums were molded around some classic tunes Turner had written over the years for several recording artists, something he steered away on this third release. "Emotional Fire," features a collection of songs from JLT's extensive back-catalogue as a recording artist, but mainly as background vocalist. Songs such as "Gina," from Michael Bolton's "The Hunger," or the title-track from Cher's underrated "Heart of Stone" album. In between the classics, Sunstorm features new songs from Kronkvist (Crash the System, Issa), Tom & James Martin (Vega, Khymera) and Daniel Palmqvist (Xorigin, Murder of my Sweet), a respected bunch, who earned their mark in melodic rock, over the last decade. Taken that in consideration, there is hardly a weak track on the album, and with Turner still being on top of his game, what can go wrong? Well, to be honest, not a lot.
Some things do go wrong that can bring the rating down. The album simply does not have the 'body' showcased by Sunstorm and Turner on both predecessors. There's plenty of melodic precision at hand. Turner's voice shines on every track, not showing any wear or loss of power. No, JLT still hits his highs, ignites mediocre songs with his powerful, soulful pipes, and occasionally stuns listeners with his energy. From the upbeat "Never Give Up" onwards, the album is propelled by Turner's voice, great hooks, excellent guitar work and swirling keys. "Wouldn't Know Love," "The Higher You Rise," or the wonderful "Follow Your Heart" are outstanding. But that's just a few of the songs.
"Emotional Fire" lacks a spark, the ultimate high performance presented on both previous releases. Perhaps I'm too spoiled? I don't know. The fact is that this third release just doesn't do it for me. It is good, on the edge of great.... Nothing less, but certainly; nothing more.
Review by Edwin van Hoof April 2012.