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Gabriel Olteanu - Gabriel Olteanu EP

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Gabriel Olteanu was born in Romania and now lives in Montreal, Canada, but just as you can't always exactly tell Scorpions are from Germany, this hard rock guitarist/singer pretty much sounds like a classic American metal performer, rather than one with multiple international backgrounds.

Perhaps Olteanu's roots are slightly exposed by the lyrical direction in at least two of these songs. Both "My Desire" and "I Want It All" speak of a pressing need to reach another level in life. Then with "Homeless Night," Olteanu's sings about struggling through dire circumstances.

As a vocalist, Olteanu has one of those solid, gruff voices. He doesn't sing in a high-pitched scream, like the hair metal lead singers used to do, but goes for a more forceful, guttural tone. This toughened sound is pleasant, but not annoying the way, say, Joe Cocker's can sometimes be.

As a guitarist, Olteanu fills these songs with appropriate lead lines that suitably drive the songs, rather than show off fleet fingers. The riff that propels "My Desire" may remind you of something Neil Geraldo might play behind Pat Benatar, while the "Oh yeah" chorus backing vocal sounds straight out of a Ratt hit.

Granted, Olteanu's sound is a bit of a throwback to an earlier rock era. However, these three songs are so solid and memorable, and it's clear this much-traveled musician has a good thing going on.

Gabriel Olteanu - Gabriel Olteanu EP
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