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Review by Shipwreck Island

Taken from ShipWreckIslandStudios.com website.
Review by Jere- 18 February 2005

Track by track breakdown:

1. Face The Truth – The album opens with a combination of overwhelming riffs and some deafening/high pitched vocals of Robert Valdes. This track definitely gets the adrenaline pumping with commanding lyrics and expressive delivery the intensity doesn’t let up until the very end of this song. Basically this is the real meaning behind rock ‘n’ roll that many artists out there today can’t fully capture but Mr. Valdes has…. perfectly.

2. I Want Your Love – Face The Truth was just a warm-up as Robert kicks it up a notch with a full 1 minute 13 second intro solo that shows off some striking guitar work although once the vocals come in the listener gets the whole effect with a heavy swagger behind the track. I Want Your Love is not the typical love song and features hints of Y&T and Motley Crue as it’s just a raw – grimy rocker and if it came out in the heyday of the metal era it would unquestionably fit well.

3. Hypnotized – Time for things to ease up as Robert’s talent for musicianship really stands out plus there is a real hypnotizing effect (pun intended) on the precise mood of the song. What gets to me on the song is how much Valdes sounds eerily similar to one of rock’s eminent vocalists: Dave Meniketti.

4. Love Me Or Leave Me – Follows the same lines of the previous mid-tempo track except it features an unrelenting harder edge. The main chorus demonstrates versatility with it being the key factor in terms of unforgettable songwriting and really adds to overall maturity of the album; in essence the song is a spotless masterpiece that just oozes soulful melodic rock.

5. Terror In The Sky – Features more of that timeless bluesy rock swagger but is also the most emotional track on the disc as this is a 9/11 influenced rocker. Its one of the most difficult topics in modern history to deal with and write a song about but sometimes it just has to be done; Valdes does a remarkable job of conveying his thoughts as well as what everyone else felt that tragic day.

6. Close To You – Probably one of the most commercial sounding songs on Out Of The Shadows it harkens back to that 80s pop metal attitude and is reminiscent to a early Winger primarily in arrangement of the main chorus. Nevertheless its an upbeat number which features a structured melody and cunning lyrics.

7. Lost Control – A huge influence on Robert Valdes’ career has been Dave Meniketti and Y&T well Lost Control would undoubtedly fit well on any Y&T release, the vocals are practically dead on in terms of sounding like Meniketti. Right from the first note comes a bombardment of insane guitars with proof of that lying around the two minute mark where Valdes unleashes his whole repertoire into a one minute solo truly pure bliss for all guitar fanatics.

8. Alone In The Dark – The CD draws to a close through a haunting instrumental that has a very calming quality to it, I mean at first listen this sounds like something you would find a Neal Schon or Joe Satriani solo outing as Valdes truly excels at his craft of being a very profound/devoted guitarist.

The Rundown:

The San Francisco bay area has been the stepping stone for some of the greatest musicians/rock bands of the last 20 to 30 years. Groups the likes Journey, Huey Lewis and the News, Y&T, and many, many more have had their share of fame. Robert Valdes is a songwriter/musician who mysteriously slipped under the radar but has made a reputation for himself in mid 80s with such groups as Annihilator and Enforcer as well as releasing several solo albums in the early to mid 90s. Valdes mixes fiery/driving guitars with razor-sharp vocals as many in the industry have compared him to Dave Meniketti and Sammy Hagar.

Early January 2005 Robert contacted me and wondered if I would give his 2003 solo disc: Out Of The Shadows a listen and review for www.shipwreckislandstudios.com – So of course I couldn’t pass the opportunity to help promote Mr. Valdes’ work and let our readers know what the Island thought so lets get down to business shall we??…

+’s (Positives)

+ Robert Valdes: This is truly his album and I mean there are no other backing musicians. The vocals, guitars, bass, keyboards, and drums were all recorded by him not only that but the album is written, arranged, and produced by him also. That is very impressive and although it can be a risky choice with the term: One Man Band coming to mind Robert pulls the entire album off without any major flaws.

+ Quality over quantity: The old saying holds true once again, the album clocks in at around a half hour of material and yep you read that right only eight tracks on the whole CD but its truly the quality of the music that truly stands out here.

-‘s (Negatives)

– No major nitpicks, complaints, or disputes: Solid musicianship, solid release… enough said.

Overall:

Quite honestly I have no idea behind why I missed this disc in 2003, perhaps it was because Shipwreck Island Studios was just in the early stages of development or maybe it was it was a time in my life where I was still trying to find my own musical tastes, whatever the reasons I thank Robert Valdes for getting in touch with me and bringing Out Of The Shadows to my attention. This independent release is clear-cut hard rock however what really astounds me is the genuine production skills of Valdes as he created a massive sounding guitar driven release, I mean if any big named rock acts heard this album they would be blown away by the complete professionalism and style that this album contains.

Another first-rate CD that I’ve had the satisfaction of reviewing and just goes to show that it doesn’t take a big label or a recording contract to produce outstanding material. Trying to make a living in this business is a tough career choice but Robert Valdes is proof positive that if you have the will and determination and most importantly the passion to create then success isn’t measured by being all over mainstream radio or having platinum awards but now of days its more about having the freedom of putting out your own music and sharing it with the rest of the world.

Out Of The Shadows receives a 4.5/5 – Missed this disc the first time around but better late then never…

Favorite songs: Love Me Or Leave Me, Hypnotized, Face The Truth, Lost Control, and Alone In The Dark

So what lies ahead for Robert Valdes well his latest project: Acoustic Journey is set for release in May 2005 and as the title suggests it will be Robert’s exploration into the acoustic realm. Acoustic Journey is a step in a another direction then his previous works and that its not metal per say but Robert says he has managed to sneak a few metal solos and there will be one full on ballad with drums, etc. This looks to be some of Robert Valdes best work and rest assured that shipwreckislandstudios.com will have more information as the release date of Acoustic Journey approaches…