Design By Humans
Published On: Mon, Oct 5th, 2015

Joel Hoekstra’s 13: Dying to Live

joelJoel Hoekstra’s 13
Dying to Live
(Frontiers Records)

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Joel Hoekstra (guitar ace of Whitesnake, Night Ranger, Trans-Siberian Orchestra and Broadway’s Rock of Ages) offers Dying to Live from his side solo musical project, 13. “Say Goodbye to the Sun” opens with metal drummer monster Vinny Appice’s outfront snare, a commercial chorus and Hoekstra’s usual wailing, while we get keys (and again that big snare) on power ballad “Until I Left You” (Jeff Scott Soto on lead vocals here). Tony Franklin adds in his fretless bass work. Sounding like Dio on his best days, “The Only Way to Go” provides another pop-metal chorus, heavy Hoekstra guitar on one of the best songs of this 11. Hoekstra shines especially during a middle soft acoustic guitar section. “What We Believe” is a spectacular ender. With its almost swinging strum, two sets of high-flying vocals (from both Soto and Russell Allen) and expansive workout of moods and movements. Surely Hoekstra is evident here in his pyrotechnics, but they are restrained to create this epic last tune, well summing up what has gone before with a very inspiring lyric about, well, dying to live. Additional musicians here include Chloe Lowery, Derek Sherinian, Toby Hitchcock, Charlie Zeleny and Dave Eggar, all helping out on this quite stunning, blistering concoction from Joel Hoekstra.

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Joel Hoekstra’s 13: Dying to Live