AOR Heaven Re-issue Return’s Classic ‘V’ Album

Although never offered the same opportunities compatriots TNT and Stage Dolls enjoyed in venturing into the US and British markets, Norwegian melodic hard rock band Return nevertheless have carved their own place in the annals of rock history, with a quite illustrious career to boast of in their own right. The band’s fifth album, ‘V’, reissued courtesy of AOR Heaven, perfectly captures what Return were all about.

Comprised of Knut Erik Østgård (v), Steinar Hagen (g), Tore Larsen (b) and Øyvind Håkonsen (d), Return were founded in the early 80s combining various influences from punk, ska, disco, pop and hard rock drawing major inspiration from British bands such as Thin Lizzy, Iron Maiden and The Police.

By the mid 80s there was certainly a very interesting music scene happening in Norway, too, with the likes of the aforementioned TNT, Stage Dolls and other emerging acts, including Da Vinci. Winning a band competition got them a deal with ARCO records, eventually resulting in the debut ‘To The Top’ (1987) arousing interest with majors like CBS who signed them for the next three records, ‘Attitudes’ (1988),’Straight Down The Line’ (1989) and ‘Fourplay’ (1991) leading the band to basically constantly tour from 1987 to 1994 and develop musically and form some kind of Return brotherhood.

For ‘V’, the album at hand, with its slightly more international approach, the band followed their label managers to EMI Norway. Recordings took place during the summer of 1992 in Glen Studio in Stockholm and the mix in Studio Nova in Norway. Unfortunately, soon after grunge struck Norway, too, and after yet again some extensive touring, in 1994 Return decided to take a break which actually lead to a six year hiatus.

Return’s, uh, return to action occurred in the year 2000 when a best of compilation sold a total of 120.000 copies! More compilations, e.g. a live output, followed over the years. Being the strongest effort so far, Return still play a considerable amount of the songs from ‘V’ in their sets of their occasional live appearances.

2020 is a year to celebrate. It is 40 years since four young guys met in a small rehearsal room and started to make great music together. This re-issue was re-mastered by Chris Lyne, offers an upgraded booklet with vintage picture material from the archives and comes as 1000 copies only ltd. edition and is being sold via mailorder only. Liner notes by Dave Reynolds.