Last year our appetites were whetted with a diverse selection of covers from the likes of NIGHTWISH, ABBA and EUROPE all performed by an unknown act. This new group had an instantly memorable name and showed signs of something fresh, interesting and left us hungry for more. Here we present First Bite the debut album from Serbia’s THE BIG DEAL.
Never Say Never is a no-nonsense melodic rock track that throws you in at the deep end. It is a great indication of how the album will progress.
The initial intro to I Need You Here Tonight doesn’t sound that far removed from some ABBA classics however it soon changes pace into a banger of a track. It not only makes you want to tap your foot but bang your head too. One could envisage this being a favourite performed live.
Sensational is unbeknownst to you, quite possibly your new favourite power ballad. It has a strong synth introduction that is prominent across the piece. It most certainly makes you want to sing along throughout too.
Top Heaven features a heavily distorted guitar intro with all the right nods towards the classic ‘80’s heavy rock sound. The combined vocals of Nevena Brakovic and Ana Nikolic perfectly works on this track channelling Anette Olzon vibes which totally makes sense after the band released a cover of classic NIGHTWISH track Amaranth before this album was released. (Which is well worth checking out if you have not yet done so!)
Wake The Fire slows things down a little and is another fine utilisation of the harmonising vocals arrangements with a good melody behind it too.
In The Dead Of The Night could quite easily fall in line with the works of BEAST IN BLACK or BATTLE BEAST, there are some good composition pieces in here and the keyboard prowess of Nevena harmoniously works alongside the guitar showmanship of her husband Srdjan Brakovic which reflects their own partnership both in and out of the band.
Rebel Lady is another heavy synth led piece which again features some great guitar mastery and vocal harmonies, kind of feels a bit like BOWLING FOR SOUP’s cover of 1985 and a nod to atypical 80’s arena rock.
Power On feels like it has come straight out of the set of either CRUCIAL TAUNT or CHERRY BOMB of which both are great movie based bands yet this track seems more of a repetitional homage rather than something new amongst the other tracks featured here.
By the time Bad Times, Good Times comes around, it feels like there has been so many similar pieces already it is starting to feel like more of the same. Musically and vocally again it is well produced and it works well but it feels like the album is starting to run out of steam.
Fallen feels like it doesn’t know exactly what it wants to be, is it meant to be a ballad or a hard-hitting rock track? Musically I am not entirely sure but there are some great vocal pieces in here which saves the song.
Lady Of The Night is totally resplendent of the likes of FOREIGNER, ABBA and JOURNEY. You can certainly see what historical acts have inspired the band with their musical prowess and direction. It is another radio friendly piece that is certainly enjoyable but feels a few decades too late overall.
With a big and bold band name one certainly needs to deliver. Whilst this album doesn’t entirely fall short of initial expectations some of the songs tend to get lost within each other rather than stand out on their own. This first bite was good as an appetiser, but one still feels hungry for more.
Words: Martin White
The First Bite is out now.