December 30, 2021 Robin McAuley – Standing on the Edge (Album Review)
When you think of the best voices from the golden age of Hard Rock and Heavy Metal names like Dio, Rob Halford, and Bruce Dickinson all come to mind, but rarely Robin McAuley. Often flying under the radar and very underrated, McAuley is one hell of a vocalist best known for his work with Michael Schenker back in the ’80s with McAuley Schenker Group. In addition he has offered his voice to bands like Grand Prix, Survivor, Far Corporation, and most recently led the supergroup Black Swan (Reb Beach, Jeff Pilson And Matt Starr) for their 2020 debut album Shake The World. Also releasing his share of solo material through the years, in 2021 he returns with a fresh new record entitled Standing on the Edge.
Released back on May 7th via Frontiers Music s.r.l., a label who has the smarts to sign artists like McAuley, the album consists of 11 tracks that is all killer and no filler. Coming on the heels of the Black Swan project, Standing on the Edge was conceived during the latter part of 2020 when, like many of us, McAuley was buying his time through the craziness that has engulfed the world.
Inspired to write and record, he teamed up Alessandro Del Vecchio, who helped produce, co-write, play bass, keyboard, but also provided backing vocals for the album. There is also guitar work from Andrea Seveso, as well as drumming from Nicholas Papapicco, filling out a sound that is best described as big and full. Which leads us to the album’s overall production, which is exactly as it should be – crisp and clean, yet warm and organic sounding; much like some of the best ’80s Metal records out there. These aspects all contribute to an album that genuinely topped off very nicely by McAuley’s voice sounding as strong as it ever has.
As mentioned having few, if any dull moments, the album kicks off with the keyboard drenched “Thy Will Be Done.” Hitting all the right notes, this track is progressive, heavy, and emotional all at the same time. This is followed by the single/title-track “Standing on the Edge” which has a guitar tone akin to Dokken’s heyday while possessing equally as on point vocals belted out by McAuley.
From here the album settled in nicely with rich sounds heard on “Late December,” “Do You Remember,” featuring guitar work from Tommy Denander (Founder of Legends Of Rock), and “Say Goodbye.” There are also highlights shuffled amidst other cuts including the soulful “Run Away” and heartbreaker “Supposed To Do Now,” which features guitar work from Howard Leese (of Bad Company, ex-Heart). And lastly the album rounds out with “Like a Ghost,” where McAuley forges a heavy Prog Rock gem with his former Grand Prix bandmate Phil Lanzon, before “Running out of Time,” sending you off with some fantastic guitar work and extremely inspiring vocals until the very final breath.
In truth, Standing on the Edge is an album that will probably be missing off many top 10 Rock lists in 2021. A very sad reality, it exceptionally well done, plus is sonically and aesthetically on par with the 1989 McAuley Schenker Group classic album Save Yourself. It is Hard Rock through and through, plus does not try to follow any current trends just to sell a few more records. Thankfully Robin McAuley knows who he is and that is a Rock singer who still has what it takes! Well worth checking out, Cryptic Rock gives Standing on the Edge 4.5 out of 5 stars.