Tesla
"Forever More"

(Tesla Electric Company Recordings 2008)Tesla - Forever More

Right off the bat: credit where credit's due. You have to admire Tesla's longevity, which is a testament to the band's commitment to making their music, their way. One of the few hard rock acts to come out of the mid-'80s that chose to forgo hair spray and theatrics, Tesla instead favored a more honest, workmanlike approach that has allowed them to cultivate a loyal fanbase and survive the death of glam metal (a sincere thanks to "Nevermind"). "Forever More," their eighth studio album and first without the original lineup (guitarist Dave Rude replaces Tommy Skeoch), continues the tradition of blues-based hard rock tailor made for playing to stadium crowds.

After listening to the title track that opens the album, there's absolutely no doubt what "Forever More" is going to hold, and that's fist-pumping, arena rock jams. Big, bold chords dominate the album, as Tesla are in their wheelhouse when cranking out easy to digest, upbeat crowd-pleasers with only the faintest of rough edges. Only momentarily does the band dip their toes into the heavier end of the hard rock pool, as on the crunchy rocker "All of Me." And did you say power ballads? Well, this album has them. From the wistful "Just in Case" to the patriotically optimistic "Pvt. Ledbetter," the abundance of the almighty power ballad proves that Tesla is a creature of the '80s.

The real problem with "Forever More" is that it has little lasting impact. Completely unobtrusive, it's what would be playing during a bar scene in a movie. Perfect for mise en scène, but it won't distract you from whatever's happening on-screen. On the same token, this would be great to play at a barbecue. None of your guests are going to complain and tell you to turn the damn stereo off. But, they aren't going to remember what they were listening to while they were cramming tasty burgers and cheddar-filled brats into their mouths. And it won't be because you kept kicking their ass in beer pong.

C+

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