Ted Poley - Collateral Damage
Kivel Records
Melodic Hard Rock
10 songs (41:14)
Release year: 2006
Reviewed by Mike
Surprise of the month

Well, here's a melodic hard rock surprise that I certainly didn't see coming. Some time ago (roughly two years ago), Danger Danger reunited with original vocalist Ted Poley. Former vocalist Paul Laine, who had replaced Poley during the Cockroach sessions, left the band as he felt that fans never really embraced him. After mending some past differences with Ted Poley, he was welcomed back into the band. The band has been touring ever since, much to the delight of fans who longed for the "true" voice of Danger Danger to return to the fold. Unfortunately, it appears that this reunion is of the nostalgic sorts only; no plans for a new studio album are planned. However, Ted has answered this call in the form of a new studio album of his own. Out of nowhere, Ted Poley has swiped nearly a masterpiece out of his pocket with this album.

Danger Danger guitarist Andy Timmons contributes a solo to the opening track Yeah, U Want It. This track sets the tone very quickly for the album. Ted is back to a straight forward, guitar heavy 80's rock sound that fans of Danger Danger are used to. Ted's other bands, Bone Machine and Melodica were much more laid back and emotional in style, pretty far removed from Danger Danger. However, the second Melodica album Love Metal did see Ted take a big step back toward his roots. Now, I can tell that Love Metal paved the way for Ted to again create an album such as this. Had Ted remained in Danger Danger all these years, I could easily see this album being the follow up to Cockroach. Ted has enlisted the services of some well known musicians in this endeavor. I've mentioned Andy Timmons, but Vic Rivera (Adriangale), Pete Lesperance (Harem Scarem), and Bill Leverty (Firehouse) also make solid contributions on this album.

There is not a single sleeper track on this album. Even though many guest musicians take part on this album, the album does not have a choppy or inconsistent feel to it. Collateral Damage is simply a melodic hard rock hard rock gem that will certainly make some noise on the scene in 2006. As I said before, this album is much more guitar heavy than anything Ted has done outside Danger Danger in the past. In particular, the soloing is very impressive throughout. The many guest guitarists really put in their best efforts on each track. Vic Rivera is the one constant as far as the guitar work goes; he handles all rhythm guitars on this album, but also gets to add his own solo to Curtain Call. Poley's voice sounds as good, if not better than ever before. Fans already know his unique sound, but he is still just as smooth as passionate as ever. Furthermore, he adds some serious attitude to songs like Breathing Doll, End Game (the heaviest song Ted has ever recorded); something not often heard from Ted in the past. Big harmony vocals are also a key ingredient to the album; ensuring that no chorus line or melody goes unnoticed. The songs themselves are each memorable as could be, while never sounding redundant. Yeah, U Want It and Breathing Doll start the album with some nonsensical but fun lyrics, while the rest of the album reminds me of his lyrical work on Melodica's Love Metal album; dealing with both positive and negative aspects of relationships. As is the case with the lyrics, the songwriting in general of high quality throughout the album. Each and every track will force itself into your memory upon first listen. And while the album is firmly grounded in melodic hard rock, there is enough variety to keep you interested from start to finish. Let Go, the album's sole ballad is just as well performed as the rest of the rocking tracks on this album. Ted has always been able to use his voice to nail songs like this, and this one is no exception. With all the rockers surrounding this track, it is a bit easy for this one to get lost, but it certainly deserves its place on this album.

Collateral Damage is a can't miss album for fans of melodic hard rock, and definitely for Danger Danger fans. Each song as this album has that "big" sound to it, one that will stay with you long after the album is done playing. The production is a bit raw and not so crisp in spots, but this isn't a major flaw. If the drums were only turned up a bit in the mix, I think the songs would have an even bigger feel to them. Still, these are relatively minor complaints. With stellar songwriting and individual musical performance all the way around, I guarantee Collateral Damage will be in my stereo for a long, long time to come.

Killing Songs :
Breathing Doll, End Game, Good Enough, Heads Up (Look Out Below), Rise
Mike quoted 85 / 100
Other albums by Ted Poley that we have reviewed:
Ted Poley - Smile reviewed by Mike and quoted 86 / 100
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