Review by Paddy Gallagher for MPM
For many of us of a certain vintage, those first two Skid Row albums, “Skid Row” and “Slave To The Grind” were immense, propelling leather clad fists in the air and sloshing beer as a youth gone wild, extending a middle finger skywards to the world and Sunset Strip Hair Metal. This was how to do it L.A.!
Third album “Subhuman Race” while not as immediate on the memory banks as the first two albums deserves all its accolades too! After this Sebastian Bach left; Rob Affuso left the stool.
And Skid Row suffered. “Thickskin”? You needed it; what exactly was “I Remember You Two” all about? What the hell were they thinking? “Revolutions Per Minute”? Subpar pop/punk. Both albums were nowhere near the Skid Row we knew and loved.
The loss of a vocalist can have a huge impact on a band and there’s no better example of this than Skid Row. The vocalist is as important to the sound of the band as any guitarist, bassist or drummer, maybe more so; change the vocalist and it changes the essence of the band.
Good news. Possessing a set of lungs and voice box on par with Seb’s of old, Erik Grönwall transports us back 30ish years to a time when we were less achy, less stiff and sore and were able to wake up the next day ready to do it all again, not taking a week to recover.
He brings a revitalising energy to the band and those listening; hell let’s forget the intervening 30 years and party like its 1990ish. His performance here is phenomenal considering the health issues he recently defeated.
Let’s not forget the long-standing interplay of Dave Sabo, Rachel Bolan and Scotti Hill, you don’t share a stage, a studio, a tour bus like these three have over many years without becoming as musically tight as a duck’s bum is watertight. Kudos too to Rob Hammersmith on the drumkit providing the thunderous backing.
This is without a doubt the strongest batch of songs the lads have written in years. Muthafukkin’ HEEAAVYYY!!! Melodic, with a cocky swagger.
This is a kick up the ass that shows bands of the same vintage what can be done if you have the talent and the balls to write and record new material, credentials firmly posted that Skid Row are not a nostalgia act!
There are subtle nods to the past within some of the song structures but there’s not many bands out there releasing new material that doesn’t reflect past endeavours.
Hell or High Water” wheeled out the “Big Guns” in a statement piece to begin the album much like the debut album. “The Gang’s All Here” with a rumbling Bass at the start reminiscent of “Piece of Me”, “Lights Come on” nodding to “Makin’ A Mess” and a vibe of “In A Darkened Room” at the start of “October’s Song”.
Subtle nuances easily missed as they’re not in your face but picked up by these well-worn ears. Overall, an extremely enjoyable, memory inducing album.
Rumour has it the writing process for the next album has started even as this one is released, implying that the unity within the band is strong again. Good. The world needs this type of Skid Row. The song writing chops are most definitely back and the reset button has been hit.
Close your eyes; the soundtrack is provided. Let Skid Row transport you back 30 years to a less stressful time and let a cold beer (or whatever your tipple is nowadays) slide down nice and easy! Stress management as only Metal can do it!
BRAND NEW ALBUM RELEASED OCT 14TH
The Gang’s All Here
- Hell Or High Water
- The Gang’s All Here
- Not Dead Yet
- Time Bomb
- Nowhere Fast
- When The Lights Come On
- Tear It Down
- October’s Song
- World’s On Fire