Tesla - Into The Now
Melodic Hard Rock
12 songs (55'41)
Release year: 2004
Tesla, Sanctuary
Reviewed by Marty
One of the hard rock heavyweights of the 80's, Tesla has returned with an album of new material. Along with bands like Skid Row, Motley Crue and even to some extent, Queensryche, these artists saw their popularity dwindle in the early to mid 90's due to the surge in the alternative and grunge rock scene with bands like Nirvana, Soundgarden and Pearl Jam literally ripping the ground out from underneath them and stealing away many fans of some of the most established and also very successful acts from th 80's. The musical climate changed almost overnight with the release of Nirvana's Nevermind album and Tesla was one of the casualities of the new era. Their first three albums, Mechanical Resonance, The Great Radio Controversy and Psychotic Supper all achieved platinum status, with The Great Radio Controversy actually achieving double platinum status. The multi-platinum unplugged album, Five Man Acoustical Jam, followed on the heels of Eric Clapton's Unplugged album and was one of the first hard rock acts to do an acoustic live album. With a smash hit single for their cover of the Five Man Electrical Band's Signs, they seemed to be at the top of the hard rock heep. Their songs were catchy, very radio-friendly and they were one of the more popular hard rock acts of the 80's. In 1994, they released Bust A Nut, right at the height of the grunge rock era and it barely achieved gold status. Tesla never really recovered from that and with the ever changing musical climate in North America and the fact that they were a band that was so characteristic of the 80's sound that the grunge artists were revolting against, their popularity suffered and they called it a day. A couple of years ago, the band regrouped and decided to go out on the road, recording a very successful live album, Replugged Live. Putting aside personal and musical differences between members of the band, they went into the studio to write and record new material some two years ago. Using guitarist Frank Hannon's home studio, there was no pressure, no deadlines and expenses were kept to a minimum. Ending up with almost 30 new songs, the 12 best were kept and ended up on this album, Into The Now, the first new studio album from Tesla in almost 10 years.

Although this album has many classic Telsa elements, the one thing for sure is that they've been keeping their ears open to the current popular hard rock and metal scene with several tracks namely the title track, Into The Now using modern and booming heavy riffing styles, very abstract leads, lots of Wah effects and some vocal styles that are a bit out of character. The choruses pretty much resemble the Tesla of old but a handful of tracks such as the title track, Look @ Me, Miles Away, Got No Glory and Recognize featuring a more aggressive and modern hard rock sound. There's still more than enough on this album to satisfy fans of their classic style with tracks like What A Shame, Words Can't Explain, Come To Me and especially Caught In A Dream which has the sound and feel of their big hit Love Song from the late 80's. By and large, they've avoided doing any of the syrupy love ballad type of songs that they've done in the past and only the last track, Only You actually falls into the acoustic ballad category. Several other tracks feature a mix of lighter passages with heavier sections for the big soaring trademark Tesla choruses.

I was a little surprised by the sound of some of this album at first with the incorporation of newer modern sounds into their music but after repeated listens, I've come to enjoy this new aspect of their sound. I'm glad they just didn't come out and rehash The Great Radio Controversy and although many songs here sound similar to that era of the band, there's a fresh new energy and intensity, all the while maintaining the quality that we've come to expected from them. It seems like they're trying to shed the "typical 80's band" label that they've always had stamped on them and take themselves and their fans to a new level of respectability in today's modern music scene. This album's not really a ground-breaking album nor is it likely to attract any new fans but for fans of the classic old Tesla sound, this is exactly what they've been waiting for. It's an album that is full of quality and very catchy songs much in the same tradition of classic albums from their past and is one that is really targeted for the fans. It's a surprising return to form and one that has lots of great catchy tunes encompassing a wide range of styles and lots of variety in the songwriting. Welcome back guys, I haven't played a Tesla CD in many years before this one and now I find myself dusting some of them off and finding that I actually still enjoy them after all these years.

Killing Songs :
Into The Now, Look @ Me, Caught In A Dream and Got No Glory
Marty quoted 80 / 100
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