Supershine

Supershine

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AllMusic Review by

Doug Pinnick, Bruce Franklin -- the names behind Supershine may barely register a pulse amongst the uninitiated, but hard rock and heavy metal cognoscenti will automatically know that they are in for a treat. Core members of underground darlings King's X and Trouble respectively, the above have helped their bands create some of the best and most under-appreciated progressive and retro hard rock records of the '80s and '90s. And not surprisingly, this self-titled debut (also featuring ex-Trouble drummer Jeff Olson and King's X guitarist Ty Tabor behind the mixing board) offers a perfect synthesis of each band's signature sound, meshing King's X penchant for vocal harmonies and melodic invention with Trouble's somber power chords and unyielding heavyness. In fact, some of the material (including first tracks "Take Me Away" and "Kingdom Come") are almost too reminiscent of the classic Trouble sound, and it's not until the cascading melodies of "One Night" and the melancholy tones of the outstanding "I Can't Help You" that Pinninck begins to make his presence felt by unleashing his remarkable gospel voice. Not to be outdone, Franklin handles some surprising co-vocal duties on the album's only cover, Grand Funk Railroad's "Shinin' On," which then leads into the album's climax with the stunning "Won't Drag Me Down." Built on one of Franklin's trademark descending riffs, then complemented by a swirling guitar pattern, and finally topped by Pinnick's vocals positively soaring over it all, the track is a major achievement, and an obvious choice for first single had the album ever received the promotional support it deserved. The disc's second half isn't quite as sublime, but still offers a number of highlights in "Going Down," "Automatic," and mournful closer "Shadows/Light." Not so much a record as an absolute treasure for lovers of great hard rock.

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