7th Stranger

Push Harder

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When Pearl Jam, Nirvana, and other Seattle bands were providing grunge and alternative rock in the early 1990s, 7th Stranger favored a slick, commercial style of pop-metal/hard rock. The obscure foursome had been playing the Seattle circuit when it recorded its first album, Push Harder, for the L.A.-based AVC Entertainment (which was subsequently renamed Solid Entertainment). When lead singer Rose Christair tears into the opener, "Love Is Like Oxygen" -- an inspired cover of the '70s Sweet classic -- it's clear that 7th Stranger is far from a grunge outfit. Christair's high-pitched, passionate belting is somewhere between Doro Pesch of Warlock fame and former Judas Priest vocalist Rob Halford, and that approach serves the band well on such pleasing if derivative, originals as "SexGuns," "Screams from My Heart," and "Pick Me, Lick Me Good." As it turned out, Stranger's timing was unfortunate -- in 1992 and 1993, alternative rock was exploding in a major way, and the type of pop-metal acts that had dominated MTV in the late '80s were suddenly finding themselves out of vogue. While Push Harder wasn't the commercial breakthrough that Stranger was hoping for, it's worth obtaining if you're a pop-metal fan.

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