Aldo Nova

Blood on the Bricks

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After a six-year absence, pop-metal pioneer Aldo Nova released Blood on the Bricks in 1991. His self-imposed exile occurred after his unhappiness with 1985's Twitch. It's a bit ironic that Nova, whose splendid self-titled 1982 debut album and single "Fantasy" were hits, had to return with the help of Jon Bon Jovi. Nova helped lay the foundation for the superbly crafted pop-metal sound that Bon Jovi rode to superstardom. Bon Jovi and Nova co-produced the album and co-wrote eight of the ten songs. Blood on the Bricks was also issued on Bon Jovi's vanity label, Jambco, part of Mercury. Unfortunately, the album is generally overproduced and noisy and most of the choruses are shout-along affairs. When Nova produced himself, the songs had rumbling power, but there was a smoothness to them. Nova plays the guitars and virtually all the keyboards and is assisted by the likes of respected bass guitarist Randy Jackson and drummer Kenny Aronoff. "Blood on the Bricks" has a relentless, catchy groove but the lyrics starkly examine a gang fight. A spunky, swaying beat, a nice chorus hook, and a bluesy guitar solo make "Medicine Man" one of the best cuts. "Someday" is a typical power ballad. "Young Love" (co-written by Bon Jovi, Nova, and song doctor Jim Vallance) and "This Ain't Love" are redeemed by Nova's guitar runs -- especially the tones. The bombast is kept to a minimum on "Touch of Madness," and sonically it could have fit on one of Nova's first three albums. The album's highlight is "Bright Lights" and it speaks volumes that this is the only song Nova wrote by himself. At nearly six and a half minutes, Nova is able to stretch out with some wild guitar riffing and a light-speed organ solo. Blood on the Bricks should have been better.

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