Italian musician Maurizio Lauroja is a breath of fresh air to hear. Your first impression of his new album Heaven or Hell will most certainly make you realize rather quickly that he will make a huge impression on the blues-rock community. If this CD is any indication of his talent, he is in for one hell of a ride in the music business. This guy has the chops to become an internationally recognized name overnight if his music falls into the right hands.
The most amazing thing about Lauroja is that he decided to launch his career as a guitarist/lead vocalist when he was 40! This is proof it is never too late to go after your dreams, hell, just look at what Grandma Moses did. Lauroja and his good friends recorded this great album for one specific reason, to celebrate their love and passion for music. Oh yes, passion, does it ever boil over by the truckload on this album! The guitar playing and vocals of Lauroja burn with the red-hot embers of pure passion and desire every step of the way. I must also comment on the dynamite vocals of Ms. Vittoria Vittuone, who is a real firecracker, with pipes that fit the music perfectly.
You will hear influences of Hendrix (wah-wah and feedback) and Stevie Ray Vaughn (stinging blues riffs) weaving their way through each track. I honestly did not hear a song that I did not love on this CD, and that is a rare occurrence indeed. When the album kicks off with the barnburner "Surprising Sue," you instantly know that you are in for the trip of your life, and it is just the beginning. Interestingly enough, I found a similarity to another artist with a connection to Italy, blues-rocker Scott Finch, who happens to be on the Italian label Comet Records.
Primarily, I have to commend Lauroja for his superb guitar work, it rocks steadily throughout this release and it is soaked in the blues to get the vocals across with more meaning and feeling. This one is a real keeper and one of the best albums I have heard this year, it certainly re-energized me and got my heart pumping again about the music I was listening to, and for that I am grateful.