The '80s hard rock/heavy metal world was littered with guitar heroes, yet one that tends to get overlooked is Brad Gillis. Gillis managed to be a member of not one, but two chart-dominating hard rock acts of the era, Ozzy Osbourne and Night Ranger -- supplying his six-string talents to such hit albums as Speak of the Devil and Midnight Madness. Gillis' solo debut, 1993's Gilrock Ranch, reflected the "guitar shredder" releases of the previous decade (as several guitar-heavy instrumentals were included), but by the time of 2001's Alligator, the guitarist decided to focus on songwriting. Although longtime Night Ranger singer/drummer Kelly Keagy lends a hand, Gillis opted to handle the majority of the lead vocals himself on Alligator -- the end result being melodic rock from the '80s mold. Since two key Night Ranger members are featured, there are quite a few tracks that sound very similar to Gillis' main band, especially "Heart Shaped Wings," while "Bigger Than Life" could have been a hit song for Bon Jovi back in 1988. Despite the main focus being on songs with vocals, Gillis' guitar plays a major role, as evidenced by such tracks as "Chain Gang." With Night Ranger appearing to be out of commission during the early part of the 21st century (their last studio set was 1998's Seven), Gillis' Alligator should help tide fans over.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Greg Prato