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Album Review : Russell / Guns – Medusa

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Review by Ritchie Birnie for MPM

Once again Frontiers has come up trumps with another exciting collaboration with Great White’s Jack Russell and guitar wizard Tracii Guns from L.A. Guns. 2024 just got of to a cracking start with some excellent new music.

From the opening of “Next in Line” you pick up that the direction is based more in the bluesy rock vein that Russell thrived in. It is great to hear Tracii take on these songs and hear a different side to his playing. The song is a straight forward rocker which opens the album with a bang and is a hit.

The pace is picked up on “Tell me Why” and Tracii flies from the off. This is an AOR stonker with pace, panache and some incredible shredding. This has all the ingredients of 80s masterpieces and it is up there for track of the album.

The opening riff sets the tone on “Coming Down” and Russell is on fire. This is one for the Great White fans for sure as it slots into their solid back catalogue with ease, this gives way to the fist pumping “Where I Belong”. The song slips and slithers its way through a blues infused rock number with a focus on the rhythm section.

There is a bit of that Tracii sleaze we are used to on “For You”. It had me thinking Thunder and Quireboys, especially with the keys playing front a centre to this toe tapping number.

It is back to the AOR feel on “Give me the Night”. You get that stadium feel, and dip into early Malmsteen songs that dropped the huge guitar emphasis. This is everything you loved about 80s rock in a tight three minutes.

I had been hoping and preying for that ballad moment and as “Living a Lie” kicks off with an acoustic guitar and Russell sounding the best I have heard in years (I know that isn’t hard as he has not released anything for seven years). He really is a bit of an underrated singer and although Great White did see some success in the 80s he has always been somewhere in the background and when you hear a song like this you wonder why that was. This is a stunning number and Tracii’s solo is dynamite.

After slowing everything down it is time to crank everything up a level and the riffs on “In and out of Love” come barreling out of the speakers demanding your attention. This is AOR 101, awesome vocals, powering guitars and bass and drums solidifying the beat with killer keys driving an excellent track.

We go for a full on Blues opening on the title track and it kicks ass from the off. The song got a little lost but comes back kicking on the chorus and the breakdown. We go a little funky on “Back into Your Arms”. The bass sets the tone on the intro and builds to the AOR feel of the album. It has settled into a groove that harks back decades but when it is this good who cares?

The drums kick off “I Want You” before it slinks into a solid blues rock swagger. It has a feel of early Quiet Riot with a sort of Guns’n’Roses throw away vibe.

Medusa is a solid album and fans of Russell will be glad to hear the man finally back in the studio and with the added bonus of an excellent outing from Tracii Guns. The two work together well and although I doubt it will happen I would love to see them both on a stage together.

2024 has taken off in style with an album I was not expecting and a meeting of two top class rockers who sound as if they just enjoyed themselves and we are the ones to benefit.

‘Medusa’ Track List:
1) Next In Line
2) Tell Me Why
3) Coming Down
4) Where I Belong
5) For You
6) Give Me the Night
7) Living A Lie
8) In And Out of Love
9) Medusa
10) Back Into Your Arms again
11) I Want You

Pre-Order HERE

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