There are voices you never forget or fail to recognise, and Swedish singer Kent Hilli‘s is one of them. I heard him for the first time last year with the two songs he performed for the second album of Tony Hernando’s band Restless Spirits, and that won me over as a fan for life.
The type of tenor similar to Joey Tempest, Timo Kotipelto, and many other Scandinavian rock legends, Kent is somehow unique in his technique which makes him instantly recognisable. Some compare him with late Jimi Jamison of Survivor, too, which also makes sense.
Given his vocal range and abilities, this is possibly one of the most underrated singers on the present rock scene. This could have something to do with the fact that his music career didn’t start properly until 2014 when he joined Perfect Plan (having given up on his football career in the early 00’s and working with a cover band afterwards). Since their debut album in 2017, Perfect Plan have been keeping him busy as his main act, having released their third album ‘Brace For Impact’ in October last year, touring around Europe earlier this year and taking part in Sweden Rock Festival this summer. He is also nowadays the lead singer of Swedish band Giant. As if all this is not enough, earlier this year he appeared on the album ‘Naked Soul’ as one of the three voices in T3nors – a project with two of America’s greatest AOR singers, Robbie LaBlanc and Toby Hitchock. It is alongside strong tenors like these that you can appreciate his vocal talent all the more.
This week, Kent is releasing his second solo album, ‘Nothing Left To Lose’. The official videos for some of the songs are out on YouTube already, so those who’ve heard them know what to expect: the same first class melodic rock the musician is known for. There are no surprises here to be had, as his style remains the same as what he’s been doing so far, yet change is not always a guarantee for quality. He is still moving his career forward by delivering more perfection.
All songs are crafted and presented beautifully, with strong starts, brilliant riffs, catchy tunes, and masterful instrumentation. Most of them are fast and upbeat, but there are also a couple of delicious ballads (Everytime We Say Goodbye; Only Dreaming). The keyboard parts are a tasteful addition to the compositions, subtly giving them a slight taste of the classical keyboard and synthesiser oriented 80s. You will also hear the odd sax and organ in the album, to make it even more of a complete project all round.
The vocal performances are outstanding as always, as Kent climbs up and down through octaves as a piece of cake. There is no track that has no potential to become a hit: they are equally powerful. Contributing to the overall vocal strength are also the backing vocals, recognised singers from the genre: Jimmy Westerlund (One Desire), Kristian Fyhr (Ginerva, Seventh Crystal), and Rick Altzi (Masterplan).
Lyrics wise, there is no surprise here either in the main theme being love, which tends to be the origin of Kent’s inspiration.
This is an album to be appreciated throughout, over and over again, so pour yourself a long drink and enjoy!
- Reviewed by Angelina Pelova.
- Nothing Left To Lose is released via Frontiers Music on 4th August 2023.
- YouTube Channel
Nothing Left To Lose (Ft. Jimmy Westerlund And Kai Hahto)
Could This Be Love
A Fool To Believe
Every Time We Say Goodbye
Does He Love Like Me
Start It All Over
Heard It All Before