I was blown away by Sunstorm's majestic debut in 2006 and to be honest, I was pessimistic at first when they announced to release a follow-up album, "House of Dreams", because I think it will be a bland and repetitive formula without any enhanced arrangement, but when I first spin the disc, I was completely surprised to find this in a stronger and prettier shape than before. Joe Lynn Turner maintained the debut's formation except Gunter Werno came in to replace the former keyboardist, Jochen Weyer. Jim Peterik also still contributed some of his self-written songs to the band and Dennis Ward still handled the bass instrument and production department.
From the first four tracks, you'll find yourself travelling back in time to the 80s era, and those tracks alone should be enough reason to buy this album. The uptempo melodic rock of "Divided" contained swelling hooks and a big start for Sunstorm. Continued with keys-driven "Don't Give Up", the wonderful chorus will leave you humming for weeks. The mighty power ballad of "The Spirit Inside" loaded with magnificent chorus, and the climax of the album is the catchy "I Found Love" with a huge radio-hit potential arrangement, and check out the magnificent guitar solo, what a song!
The passionate ballad of "Say You Will" is too soft and sappy, and somehow reminds me of a lost George Benson track, but this one definitely can be a great wedding song. I raise my hats to the cool and breezy "Forever Now" and the title track. Led by a thick keyboard sound, this song displayed Turner's capability of wandering at the low range register before flying high with the soaring chorus. Sunstorm included two cover songs, "Save A Place In Your Heart" which can be found in Only Child's debut and "Walk On" from Jimmy Barnes' "Freight Train Heart", and even though those tracks are quite okay, I guess it's unnecessary.
If you love the debut, this is an even better release! The songs compositions are stronger, not repetitive but the wheels are rolling on the same track, the whole band is tight, and Turner’s voice is still magical. If you like melodic hard rock, with a touch on heavy metal border, and also AOR, "House of Dreams" is unbelievably great.