4 out of 5 Stars!
From Sweden, Salute released only two albums in 2009/2010 before seemingly disappearing. Too bad, since the obscure group produced some slamming Hard Rock with AOR melodies and touched with some Metal influences.
On Toy Soldier, the lead singer/keyboardist, Mikael Erlandsson (Last Autumn’s Dream), is both raspy and powerful, and easily has the chops to carry off both heavy and lighter material, and the instrumentalists—Martin Kronlund (Overland/Rage of Angels/Reece-Kronlund) on guitars and bass, and Imre Daun (Overland/Kharma) on drums—obviously share his adeptness, performing expertly on catchy tracks such as “It’s My Time,” “I Am Your Prisoner,” “Cheated,” “Dynamite,” “Running Away With You,” “Toy Soldier,” and “Yesterday’s Always Been Gone.”
There’s nothing overly unique or innovative here, but this well-produced debut and the band’s second album (2010’s Heart of the Machine) are definitely worthy of investigation for fans of thick and grand “melodic yet Heavy Rock bordering on Metal” genre along the lines of Last Autumn’s Dream, Pretty Maids, Eden’s Curse, Pink Cream 69, Masterplan, or Thunderstone.