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Twilight of Destiny
China Blue
Twilight of Destiny
Frontiers Records
unreleased 2008
Melodic Rock
Brian Rademacher
4.5 stars

This has been one of the CD’s I have been waiting on for sometime now, it’s been done and waiting for release. It’s been lying on the labels desk for sometime and delayed because that label also takes care of JOURNEY and their release took precedence over CHINA BLUE, understandably because of the money that can be had from JOURNEY’s release.

But anyway, the long awaited release is on the way. First off, I would like to mention that many of the members of CHINA BLUE are friends of our writers and mine and at times writing a review of friends is not the easiest thing to do. But if you are looking for our true feeling and honesty you will get that from us. Everyone has his or her own opinion and that’s what makes the world go round. Being truthful is another thing. We are here as a guide of what we hear, one thing for sure we do the best we can. That being said; onto CHINA BLUE’s “Twilight of Destiny”, this is a CD that has been three years in the making and is the pet project of keyboardist extraordinaire Eric Ragno. The opening track “What Do You Need But Love” is a tremendous AOR dream come true, smooth keyboards by Ragno giving way to Josh Ramos (THE STORM) searing guitar. Vocalist Tony Mills (SHY, TNT) makes his presence right off the bat as he takes hold of the charismatic flows. This is what I expected and it is an opening tune that will blow you away. Let me tell you about Mr. Mills; this guy is not only a force in music but donates his time to The Autistic Foundation for Norwegian children. God bless you Tony.

Another killer tune is “Changing Ways” if you’re talking about arrangements, Ragno and the boys outdid themselves. Amazing symphonic solo by Ragno going off the hook as he joins up with Ramos and as the thunderous bass lines of Fabrizio Grossi (strike and the rhythm guitar of Ron Smith (XENON) echo and you have ecstasy.

Ramos turns up the heat on “So Wrong” with his slashing guitar style, which he’s known for. Another head-turner as the song elevates with some of the most kick ass harmonies I’ve heard. You gotta hear Ramos on this one, the guy is a burner! Love this track! Of what I heard so far if CHINA BLUE is only a studio project for these musicians they better make it a priority!

If you want to get a little sentimental then check out the track “Crimes (Of Passion)”. Even though this is a semi-ballad and focuses on the vocals of Tony Mills it's the musicians that are the glue that hold this one together, as drummer Zane Petersen, bassist Odell and rhythm guitarist Smith all shine. CHINA BLUE has a phenomenal midsection that is the nucleus to this great track and it holds the key to its success.

Next up is “Passions” and to tell you the truth I felt like I was in a church for some reason with this one. Maybe it was Ragno’s melodic tinkering on the keyboards and the layering of vocals by Mills making it feel like a church choir.

“Movin' On” is one of the heavier tunes reminding me of STYX; once again can I say harmonies in a big way. I love it, it brings depth to a song and CHINA BLUE has that magic. Fucking what can I say about Mills this guy is exceptional. What power is released from the heavens on this one?

I was a little surprised with “Twilight of Destiny” being the title track and an instrumental. It sure does highlight the talents of Ragno and Ramos and if you like instrumentals that soar in the vein of melodic rock this will be for you.

Check the pipes on Mills on “Take Me as I Am”; a song that strays into the rock genre with less progression and more pop, still Ramos once again blowing the doors down with his total shredding.

“A Last Goodbye” is the last track on the official release with a heavy dose of Ragno and Ramos on this instrumental. I’m getting flashbacks from the Anniversary show that Andrew McNeice put on last year when I witnessed both Ragno and Ramos in action.

The next three tracks are bonus tracks for various presses; “Passions” (Reprise), you know they had to put this on twice, it a extension with some arrangement changes. I liked both as it’s one of the best tracks on “Twilight of Destiny”. “Don’t be a Stranger” (acoustic) is next up. I like the acoustic version a bit more only because I feel it shows how good a song is without studio magic and really shows off the talent of the band.

A bonus track called “Selena” will appear on Melodicrock Volume 5, close your door, turn the lights off and pump this one up. It’s one of my favorite tracks with hooks galore and a great chorus. It reminds me of the great band ANGEL with Punky Meadows and Gregg Giuffria.

In ending I’m proud to have friends like these boys because they hit the long ball with “Twilight of Destiny”! CONGRATS!!! Ask for this one for Christmas!

Band Lineup:
  • Tony Mills –Vocals
  • Josh Ramos – Lead Guitar
  • Eric Ragno - Keyboards
  • Ron Smith –Rhythm Guitar
  • Doug Odell – Bass Guitar
  • Zane Petersen - Drums
  • Fabrizio Grossi - Additional Bass Guitar
  • Pete Newdeck - Additional Drums


Track Listing:
  1. What Do You Need but Love
  2. Nocturnal Emissions
  3. I Feel Like Dying
  4. Changing Ways
  5. So Wrong
  6. Don't Be a Stranger
  7. Crimes (Of Passion)
  8. Passions
  9. Movin' On
  10. Twilight of Destiny
  11. Lost
  12. Take Me as I Am
  13. A Last Goodbye
  14. Passions (Reprise)
  15. Don’t be a Stranger (Acoustic)
  16. Selena (Bonus)


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