Frank Vestry - My Collection
Lion's Pride
AOR / Melodic Rock
12 songs (51:23)
Release year: 2020
Lion's Pride
Reviewed by Ben

Back in 2008, guitarist Rob Marcello and singer Frank Vestry got together and decided to release an album full of eighties soaked melodic rock. That gloriously decadent self titled release ruled my world for a long time and I still go back to that well to drink from its sweet, sweet water again and again. Oh yeah. Unfortunately for me, the duo never got together again for a full release and Frank Vestry seems to have had rather bad luck in finding a stable band despite his talent. Mr. Vestry has been singing in the underground melodic metal scene since the eighties, however, when I say underground, I mean it. Probably the most high profile release other than Rob Marcello would be his work with Jack Starr from Guardians Of The Flame and ex-Virgin Steele. For the most part, Frank Vestry's back catalog is hard to find at best, and nigh impossible at worst. So, fast forward from 2008 to a few weeks ago when this release popped up in front of my face and I just about jumped out of my seat with anticipation.

What we have here with My Collection are a dozen songs taken from throughout Frank's career and eleven of them have been remastered. There is one new song, Last Night, but it fucking sucks so bad that it doesn't count. Four songs are from Frank's collaboration with Rob and the highlight here is the inclusion of When You Grow Up. This was originally released on some out of print compilation and to have it on an actual album is a huge draw for the hardcore fan, e.g. me. The other groups that are included on here that Frank culls from are Laneslide, Last Temptation, Jack Starr, The Pack, and Devias. But by and far, the presentation is centered on the Marcello-Vestry material. Seeing as how THAT album is hard has hell to find, this gets a pass from me just so new fans can get into these songs.

First things first, that is a really cool album cover. Yes, it's just a simple picture. But the bustle of the nightlife, the movie theater signs, the crowds, they all radiate with a rough elegance as well as a sense of romanticism, and it all fits with this style of music. This and the topless stripper from the Marcello - Vestry album are probably the two best album covers for this genre. I'm not too thrilled with the choice of opener Without You. While not an outright stinking floater, this was one of the two weakest songs from the Marcello - Vestry release. Personally, I would have gone with One More Night as the opener (which is included here) and in its place I would have used Love Injection. However, if you pretend you'd never heard these songs before, you most likely won't be disappointed from Without You. Understand is a power ballad from Vestry in Laneslide and well, the lyrics kind of suck. There's too much rhyming using the same word, (for example : "time with time") and this becomes a distraction. Break It begins in the vein of another power ballad but it busts out into something like a mix of Tesla and High N Dry era Def Lep. Definite thumbs up.

Don't wanna get sucked into a track by track, so here are a few more highlights. Desperate is the most aggressive song on here and is also the fastest. Surprisingly the lyrics are not female centrist and are about a literal bum being down and out and being broke as shit. The Jack Starr song, In Your Arms Again, is charming with it's old school feel. It reminds of Riot and their song Outlaw. That's a good thing. Now we have to talk about When You Grow Up. A hard to find track, this for the most part follows the line of a traditional melodic mid tempo song. There's one thing that stands out dramatically, even though it only occurs twice during the intro. Rob Marcello actually uses a country guitar lick on his Super Floyded Strat. This has excellent production from Bruno Ravel. But so does the final song, Last Night. A collaboration between Bruno and Frank, this is just piano and Frank singing. However, this is so horribly schmaltzy. This sounds like watching old people fuck.

Other than one truly shitty song and opening with not his best effort, My Collection is still packed up with big ol' AOR / Melodic Rock songs. As long as you don't mind some of the cliches, and there are many to be heard, these are still quality songs that I am glad have been brought back out to light. Hell, this should have been a two disc set. That, or put out a My Collection II soon. Or even better, how about a NEW MARCELLO - VESTRY ALBUM?

Killing Songs :
Break It, Desperate, One More Night, When You Grow Up, In Your Arms Again
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