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Album Review

Winterhawk's lengthy underground saga as the Midwest's best-kept hard rock secret finally gained some recognition upon the reissue of their lone official studio album, 1982's Revival (recorded under less than ideal circumstances, following numerous breakups and makeups) when it was brought to compact disc by underground music trawlers Monster Records. But lest the release date fool you, let it be absolutely clear that Winterhawk's earthy hard rock aesthetics — spiced with progressive rock and the slightest Southern rock touches — were very much a product of the 1970s, the band having originally formed in '77. Sure enough, Revival's driving intro and structurally elastic "Sanctuary" combines a classic '70s melodic hard rock-sound with traces of funk, touches of metal, glimpses of Southern rock, and generous slices of progressive rock, which together bring to mind bands as ambitious as Deep Purple and as rootsy as the James Gang, and prog acts as diverse as fellow Midwesterners Kansas, and Welsh originals Budgie. The last two references owe much to the acrobatic range and frequent high notes struck by vocalist/bassist Doug Brown, but it's unquestionably the regularly dazzling fretwork of guitarist Jordan Macarus that provides the foundation of Winterhawk's every move. Whether harmonizing with himself, Thin Lizzy-like, on most every number, alternating gently picked classical guitar figures with crunchy power chords à la Randy Rhoads on the title track, or peeling off a jazzy, fleet-fingered display while proving quite the capable singer himself on "Ace in the Hole," Macarus is in fine form, and even without any of the above, one would only need to hear his beautifully fluid soloing on the stunning album centerpiece "Period of Changes" (not quite Steve Morse, but close) to realize that here was a particularly innate and versatile six-string talent. Granted: "Can't See the Forest for the Trees" isn't totally successful at its more generic (and indefensibly dated) faux-Southern rock jauntiness, and the protracted epic "Free to Live" (like an uncomfortable cross between Rush and Lynyrd Skynyrd) wanders on just a bit too long for comfort, but they are hardly capable of derailing Revival from its well-deserved "minor underground classic" status. Following the original album's seven tracks, the CD reissue contains three bonus cuts comprising two studio demos from 1986 (the half-decent instrumental "Fallen Dinosaur," and the '80s production-tarnished "Eliah"), and a 1978 live performance (the pretty rockin', somewhat Rush-like "Hammer and the Axe") from one of Winterhawk's earliest shows at Chicago's Aragon Ballroom.

Customer Reviews


This album has been considered one of the best (and for a while hardest to find) hard rock albums. Hard driving, six string festival with great composition. I've had the opportunity to see Winterhawk and it is an unbelievable experience. You can see guitarist Jordan Macarus play in clubs in Chicago with a wide range of band sizes and formats. If you're in the area check the entertaiment papers and catch a show. You won't be sorry. Until then, BUY THIS ALBUM!!!

Winterhawk Chicago Classic Rock Revival

If you like Rush, Boston, or other bands of the late 70's era you should really give Winterhawk a shot. I have to admit though that my view is a little slanted. Doug Brown (Lead vocals on Sanctuary) was my fiancee's uncle. I had the pleasure of knowing him only briefly before he passed away. The Doug that I met was a great guy who always went out of his way to make people laugh and have a good time. RIP.

Quality 70s rock. Plain and simple.

Are you a fan of Boston, Rush, or 70's rock music in general? Then buy this. NOW!
Guitar work is great, the vocals are great, the sound is great.
There is a live album on itunes also......


Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s

Although hopelessly overshadowed by the seemingly endless British onslaught flowing from across the Atlantic throughout the 1970s, America's heartland produced an impressive number of quite worthy guitar heroes all its own; and for every Ted Nugent or Ronnie Montrose who attained a certain level of success in their day and are now regarded as true legends, countless dozens of additional candidates would remain forever lost under the radar. Such is the case of Chicago's highly deserving Jordan Macarus,...
Full Bio
Revival, Winterhawk
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Customer Ratings