This is the debut album from a band who were actually formed as long ago as 1983. They managed to secure some good tours and even signed a record deal in the Eighties, but by 1990 they had broken up and that was the end of it, at least until September 2013 when they reformed for a one-off gig. That has led to them supporting Aerosmith, Foreigner, UFO and Scorpions along the way and touring the UK with FM and Romeo’s Daughter. They have also performed at major festivals such as Hard Rock Hell AOR, Download, London Calling, Ramblin’ Man, Steelhouse, Rockingham and the Frontiers Rock Festival in Milan. They have now finally released their debut album, but what should be a totally joyous occasion has been dampened somewhat due to founding member, bass player and close friend Paul Boyd losing his battle with cancer in 2017. Paul appears on the album and the band is respectfully dedicating its release to his memory.
As soon as I heard this I was taken back to the Nineties, and particularly to a magazine called Frontiers. Unlike the other fanzines around at the time these guys had gone glossy and it was much more like a “proper” magazine. One of the real delights was the cover CD that came with each issue which introduced me to bands I would have never have heard of otherwise (this was pre-internet and the media hated melodic rock nearly as much as they hated prog). As soon as I started playing this I had to turn to my library as this was reminding just so much of bands like The Loveless and Be Sharp, both of whom featured on the second cover CD before the now-famous Frontiers label had emerged. NHA is melodic rockers with strong hints of Bad Company, some Foreigner, a tad of classic Journey, the melodic side of UFO and possibly even some later Whitesnake. What it doesn’t sound like at all is a band releasing their debut in 2018, but if this had come out thirty years or more ago then I am sure that we would have been hearing a great deal about it.
It is great that the guys finally seem to be getting some real recognition, and we can only hope that it keeps going in the way that it has to date. As it is, this is a melodic hard rock album that has that edge that removes it from AOR yet will still be appreciated by fans of that slightly softer genre. Strong harmonies, hooks, and a great production, this is well worth looking out for.
8/10 – Kev Rowland