Tom Keifer - Rise

Tom Keifer Rise cover
Tom Keifer
Cleopatra Records
Cinderella’s Tom Keifer had been MIA for many years… other than a live album there hasn’t been any original Cinderella material since the mid-90s and he only has released a single solo album all the way back in 2013 in the shape of “The Way Life Goes”, a blues-rock effort that garnered some press and must have done OK, since he toured pretty heavily on its back. With no solid plans to do anything with Cinderella, Keifer returns with yet another album that is a little different to his debut, in some ways, but still feels representative of the man and his art.
Opener “Touching the Divine” lays down a mean and slightly riff, while Keifer shouts his guts out, the bastard child of both AC/DC vocalists, just a bit more hairy than either of them.
“The Death of Me” continues in not too a dissimilar style but it’s permeated by a far more Zeppelinesque riff and overall style, with long drawn wails on behalf of TK.
“Waiting on the Demons” is a very beautiful rustic sort of ballad, that both harkens back to the acoustic days of C, despite starting a little in a Dylanesque or Heartbreakeresque way. Breathtaking slide guitar solo too...
“Hype” is heavier and borders on early Guns territory if not a little noisier and a little more repetitive...
“Untitled” left me scratching my head, at its title… it begins with a swampy/slidey intro that has a certain minor Metallica-esque quality to it, and continues with some mean swirling bluesy riffs that again don’t feel like they ‘re letting go. Weird track, but not bad... by any means... I just feel its title is gonna make it a little weird to request live… hey do “Untitled”?! Why sontcha? Hmm...
“Rise” is a piano based, kinda healing piece of balladry, that gets heavier in the middle and around it’s solo… it’s rather poignant and could have been a little more focused I feel, but it ain’t too bad.
“All Amped Up” feels like someone mixed together an AC/DC and Aerosmith track, while Neil Young was overseeing it all. Kinda fun rocker that’s all amped up, with a dirty mean solo throwing down the gauntlet.
“Breaking Down” slows down thing in a quirky slightly psych way… it rocks similarly to Cinderella or mid-era Guns past the intro, but takes its dear sweet time getting there.
“Taste for the Pain” has a simple marching drum over soft pianos and as maudlin guitars and as you might have guessed is a ballad. Not a bad one either, but we’ve heard better from Tom, as well as he only come around past the middle.
“Life was Here” has the quintessence of rocking figured out and it blasts away as classic Cinderella with Tom’s drawls having the rasp and edge characteristic of Axl Rose at his peak, but with a few twists and turns thrown along the way…
Last but not least, “You Believe in Me” is an acoustic ballad, which might at times sound a bit like it’s borrowing a little from The Kink’s “Lola”, but then again graduates to something all of its own and it’s poignancy is heartachingly and heartbreakingly beautiful.
While never feeling that consistent, due to the somewhat all over the place tracklist positioning of songs, “Rise” is not a bad effort. I always had an affinity for people like Keifer, Axl Rose, Danny Vain, Tesla’s Jeff Keith and why, even Steven Tyler of Aerosmit … it’s hard to argue with a hard rocker and neither do I want to; I just wanna rock and “Rise”, up to a point, scratches that itch… although it also makes me wonder… what if…?