Kent Hilli – The Rumble (Frontiers Records)

Looking for a glorious amalgam of amped up 80s-fuelled AOR?

The search is over.

The Rumble is a booming thunderclap of a melodic rock record.

And Perfect Plan’s Kent Hilli has delivered another flawless project.

A solo album by name, this is a carefully curated collaboration by nature.

The peerless Mike Palace is fellow countryman Hilli’s reliable wingman.

And The Rumble boasts the Swede smell of success from start to finish.

Palace produced the breakout soft rock record of the year.

But he didn’t stop there.

The multi-instrumentalist played just about everything here.

And it shows.

Think Hilli peaked with Perfect Plan?

Think again. The Rumble scales new heights.

Kent Hilli reveals Giant ambition

Hilli isn’t shy when it comes to referencing his influences.

Giant, Foreigner, Survivor, Starship and Whitesnake all get a mention.

So does The Rumble emulate Hilli’s heroes?

It sure does.

Cold is like Richard Marx soundtracking a Disney animation.

The superior Heaven Can Wait is a hybrid of John Farnham and Nelson.

And Love Can Last Forever will surely pique David Coverdale’s interest…

Hilli is a keen student of chartbusting 80s rock.

But The Rumble isn’t simply a recurring echo of a lost decade’s former glories.

Hilli and Palace stamp their own indelible mark on a 2021 tour de force.

And this joyously overblown album is a heartfelt ode to all things overly optimistic.

Palace and Hilli craft perfect partnership

Miss Up To No Good casually introduces the Foreigner vibe.

Its canny wordplay makes for an earworm of a chorus.

And Palace’s catchy riff is the cherry on the top of the icing on the cake.

An intuitive partnership elevates The Rumble to the next level.

In fact Hilli must already be counting the days until he can hook up again with his new best buddy.

Don’t Say It’s Forever should be Do Say It’s Forever.

At least where this magical meeting of musical minds is concerned.

Think Gramm/Jones, Coverdale/Vandenberg and Bickler/Peterik.

Melodic rock has found its new power couple.

And The Rumble already looks set to make a big noise in the end of year Best Of lists.

The gloves are off.

Check out Rushonrock’s Top 10 AOR Albums of 2020 — featuring Mike Palace — here