Some might recognize Robby Valentine as a prominent symphonic singer with an operatic voice but few knew that he emerged from a melodic rock band called Zinatra where he played the keyboard there. "The Great Escape" is the sophomore release of the Holland quintet and also the last album of the band before they dissolved and Valentine continues on his own path as a solo artist. The musical style offered here is a keyboard-oriented melodic hard rock with a great vocal and exceptional guitar works. Imagine a mix of hard-edge Journey, the commercial grip of Bon Jovi's "Slippery" era, the scandi-AOR polish of Treat, and symphonized by Queen touch. Mennen's singing style is even influenced by Freddie Mercury and while majority of the songs are in high quality songwriting shape, the production value is average, such a shame.
Several strong tracks inside are : the peak of the album, "Take It To The Top", an excellent slab of melodic rock perfection with a huge chorus; the wonderful midtempo rocker, "Two Sides of Love"; the beautiful ballad, "Hold On"; and "Only My Heart", a giant melodic rock tune. All of them are also co-written by Paul Laine, who's famous as a singer of Danger Danger later on. There are still a lot of other superb tracks to love here : "There She Was" and "Love Never Dies" are such a chart-potential ballads, "Too Blind To See" has a very nice chorus, or the closing track of "The Roaring Silence", an acoustical-driven power ballad piece with beautiful harmonic vocals. Couple of weaker tracks such as "Candyman" or "Jekyll And Hyde" and a decent production prevented me from giving this album a perfect five-stars score, but as a huge melodic rock fan, I highly recommend you to buy this one if you're into the musical style.