Review by Gary Spiller for MPM
Celebrious hard-rocking individual Dee Snider, the highly extolled frontman of the legendary New York metallers Twisted Sister, returns regally to 2021 action with the hard-hitting ‘Leave A Scar’, his fifth solo album.
Released via the fabled Austrian metalliferous label Napalm Records on July 30th ‘Leave A Scar’ is a dozen voluptuous tracks that punch, as a cohesive collective, with a ferocious, expeditious technique throughout the 45 minutes presented herein.
Coming three years on from ‘For The Love Of Metal’ – a release that is widely regarded as a pivotal, transformative moment in Snider’s celebrated career – we bear witness to the Astoria-born vocalist further cementing his deserved position amongst the front-runners of modern metal. Once again produced by Jamey Jasta, frontman of Connecticut metalcore outfit Hatebreed, ‘Leave A Scar’ possesses an undeniably fresh reflection borne of the darkened times we are all emerging from.
The talents of brothers Charlie and Nick Bellmore (both Kingdom of Sorrow) – guitar and drums respectively – that were utilised upon ‘For The Love Of Metal’ make a welcome return and are further complemented by guitarist Nick Petrino (Sonic Pulse) and bassist Russell Pzütto (Twisted Sister and Reverence). This is a rapacious beast that voraciously dispenses bone-crunching beats and riffs that go hand-in-hand with Snider’s dominant, vigorous delivery of resonate lyrics that infectious choruses dwell within.
Flying off the starting line at a frenetic pace album opener ‘I Gotta Rock (Again)’ is a rallying call from the very heart. Snider roars over pounding beats and slick, searing riffs “Here I go, It’s time to roll again, I gotta rock, This is life. I’m gonna rock until the day that I die.” The vital life signs of rock are in tip-top condition based upon this showing.
Having been turned loose within the first track, the wild stallions continue to thunder across the plains, their hooves sparking, in the thrash-tastic ‘All Or Nothing More’. There’s a massive nod to the likes of Metallica and, in particular, Anthrax; their 80s prime naturally. Rapid powerhouse riffs and rhythms closely entwine.
Like the miner who has struck the mother lode Snider and Co. continue to extract this rich musical vein with ‘Down But Never Out’. Snider, in full Twisted Sister majesty, pumps his fist skyward as he roars the opening lines “We can, We can never stop.” Those hints of Twisted Sister are there sprinkled amongst the emboldened six-string licks and commoving, expeditious beat. This is the harnessing of methanol-powered, rocket-propelled kinetic energy; raw but tamed under a masteful hand.
‘Before I Go’ takes a more melodious path, taking a different turn from the opening triumvirate. The power is there but a soaring guitar solo, mid-song, is demonstrative that control is perfectly executed with a late 80s AOR feel enmeshed within. The chilling lyrics herein hold a mirror upon a life lived, choices made as the final breath is taken. Snider imparts “Then you’ll don gossamer wings, And rise to hallowed halls.” These lyrics reverberate about the soul to cause a moment of reflection.
The tumbling, rolling drum beats that commences ‘Open Season’ jolt the listener back before a chopping riff makes a statement of intent. There’s a touch of Malmsteen in the six-string action and Snider is in fine fettle; there is absolutely no doubt he’s atop his game. Readying himself to unleash a whole can of whoop ass Snider snarls “Was there a target on my back? You drew first blood, now it’s time to attack.”
The darkened lyrics of ‘Silent Battles’ hit home on a personal level; struggles with self-doubt, battles within facing one’s fragile mental health. A faint, underlying metallic-prog undercurrent weaves itself about the anthemic riffs as Snider pours his heart into the words “Every struggle, all the shame you felt, If I could I would wash it all away, away. In your war no canons roar, no fields lay strewn with dead. A struggle of one, so alone, a conflict without end.” The powerful words do the talking here; this is a particular personal favourite.
Power ballad ‘Crying For Your Life’ has a molten 80s LA Strip feel about it with a modern, energetic perspective melded together with it. Screeching, howling guitars roar on the blacktop as the v-twin stallions roar out of city limits.
The highly contagious chorus of ‘In For The Kill’ is guaranteed to rattle about cerebrally as lyrically Snider continues his passage that began in ‘Open Season’. Words are sung venomously “There’s no way that I’ll ever break. I’ll never stop, there’s just too much at stake.” This is a mercurial, melodic metalcore offering to the gods of justice.
‘Time To Choose’ is a brutal, merciless, three minute frenetic stomp that features the asperous bark of Cannibal Corpse’s George ‘Corpsegrinder’ Fisher and doffs a hat to thrash classic ‘Ride The Lightening’. Unrelenting the pace is cranked up to max as fire eminates from the stallions’ flared nostrils. Storm clouds gather; the furnace’s fury burns the skies in flickering shades of burnt ochre and ecru; electricity crackles.
Featuring slick-as-you like six-string wizardry ‘S.H.E.’ is a love-song of a kind but spun in the style Snider and his musical partners in crime have confidently give forth thus far. It’s truth and fair but packs a lethal punch.
Harmonious thrasher ‘The Reckoning’ possesses the hallowed hallmarks of the mortiferous; furious, rapid beats picked out with ultra-precision are the bedrock that the guitars frenziedly reciprocate with equal accuracy. Anyone for ‘All Caught In A Mosh’?
Triumphant ballad ‘Stand’ concludes proceedings with a final rallying cry; a passionate, engaging call to arms to go and make voices heard. Snider has most certainly made his voice heard and in a truly wondrous fashion too. The needle rises from the vinyl and one is left wanting more. Snider has delivered and will do so once more.
Fifth Full-Length Solo Album, Leave A Scar, out July 30 via Napalm Records – Order now: https://smarturl.it/LeaveAScar
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