Review by

Taken from Rough website.
Review by R Scott Bolton – 22 January 2003

There’s a freshness to Robert Valdes’s 80s style pop metal that makes his new CD, “Out of the Shadows” (his first in five years) stand out from the other bands that continue to go back to that particular musical well. Listening to this CD, you’ll think that the 80s never went away … and you’ll be glad they didn’t.

In our interview with Valdes, he states, “… this is the genre of music I grew up listening to, it is the type of music that I write, record and like to listen to. You see, I make the kind of music that I enjoy listening to as a fan.” Listening to “Out of the Shadows,” you’ll be pleased to hear the chunky guitars, hook-ridden choruses, blistering guitar leads and crystal clear vocals. You’ll always be surprised, as we were, to discover that all of the music on this CD comes directly from Valdes. That’s right – he not only wrote and produced the CD, he performed every instrument hereon.

“Out of the Shadows” speaks volumes of its inspirations. One can hear a little KISS here, a little Stryper there, perhaps a little Poison there. Then there are trickles of Satriani, Bon Jovi, and Van Halen. But these influences are all filtered through Valdes’s musical self-expression, making “Out of the Shadows” truly his alone.

The CD features plenty of solid rockers (“Face the Truth,” “I Want Your Love,” the party-attitude “Close To You,”) and soothing “ballads” (“Hypnotized” and the instrumental “Alone in the Dark”). One song, “Love Me or Leave Me,” even starts out a little like a Miami Vice theme (but then folds into some Ozzy-style heavy rock). “Terror In the Sky” is a sober, somber track inspired by 9/11. Its place – smack in the middle of the CD – is perfect sequencing.

But the main thing that strikes you about “Out of the Shadows” is Valdes’s feeling of freedom. Here’s a guy who’s been rocking for a long time but who has had to step back for awhile in order to earn a living. Now, with that part of his life secure, he goes back into the recording studio and records exactly the record he wants to record – not something that record executives tell him will sell, not something that his fellow bandmembers think he should alter – just exactly what he wants to communicate. That freedom comes across clearly in “Out of the Shadows,” and the listener can’t help but envy and admire Valdes’s dedication and well-earned creative liberty.