Ever since a 15-year-old Neal Schon erupted on-stage with Santana at Woodstock, the guitarist always sought to rock harder. His dazzling runs and killer chops balanced nicely with Steve Perry's pop predilection for ten years of juicy Journey records, but even a couple albums with Jan Hammer couldn't satisfy Schon's axe-god aspirations. His yearning for a four-piece Van Halen/Montrose environment was met by meat-and-potatoes metalhead Sammy Hagar on one heavily doctored live document, the creatively titled Through the Fire. Aaronson looked cool and played bass on tour with Billy Idol, giving some new wave credence to this quartet (in image only). Drummer Shrieve also boasted Santana roots. Of course, Through the Fire is by the numbers, not in a league with Hagar's peak in the landmark Montrose, but as enjoyable as his solo '80s work. Hagar, Schon, Aronson, Shrieve approaches each cut as an epic, and some fat could be cut from each, but Hagar and Schon wisely use the opportunity to stretch their considerable AOR muscles. Hagar's always dubious lyrics try the patience at times, but radio song "Missing You" captures sizzling prime Schon, and the dinosaur juggernaut "My Home Town" lumbers like an extinct GFR/BTO/FM staple. Schon went on to a more restrictive role with Bad English (featuring John Waite in the Perry role), and tried on hair metal with Hardline, again allowing him to cut loose but lacking the classic rock crunch of Through the Fire.