Adler – Back From The Dead

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Review by Brian McGowan

Actually, I think he’s been back a while. Then again, maybe I’m not keeping up with current events.

To build a career on a greatly exaggerated rumour is, at worst, a sign of desperation and at best, a risky business. But now that ex G’N’R drummer, Steven Adler has teamed up with Jacob Bunton (Mars Electric / Lynam) to form the band with his own name, perhaps he can unhook his career from the life support machine.

Bunton is a songwriter of ability, skilled in resolving a skin tingling bridge with an inviting hook, and it’s to his star that Adler hitches his wagon. In turn, Bunton’s’ abrasive, economic, yet sharp dressed guitarwork combines with Adler’s percussive swing and swagger to give the songs weight and momentum. Jeff (Dokken) Pilson’s gritty, bass heavy production anchors the music to solid ground. That said, the early tracks, except perhaps for ’Own Worst Enemy’ are a little generic, tailored to Sunset Strip/bandana rock convention. They’re treading carefully here, feeling their way, you can tell.

Four tracks in, they hit their not inconsiderable stride. ’The One That You Hated’ simply soars, flying high on the visceral impact and excitement that great rock music creates, gilded by a wonderfully Beatle-esque middle-eight. The rather good sleaze rock of ’Good To Be Bad’ is another episode from a distressed life, a confessional of self-destruction, and unsurprisingly, almost all the songs on ‘BFTD’ are filled with purgative lyrics. But there are none that display real depth, insight or genuine emotion until ‘Just Don’t Ask’, where an honest narrative – with a hint of defiance – blows away the bluster to reveal a search for salvation.

The flamboyant, contemporary poprock sound of ‘Waterfall’ wrenches the band into the present, and ‘Dead Wrong’s stampeding primal thunder is hard to resist. But the remaining tracks tend to recycle the generic sounds of the album’s openers, making for some rather less memorable, rather more ponderous moments. It’s the stuff that’s in between that counts. More of this on the next one please.

Adler - Back From The Dead

7 out of 10

Track Listing:

  1. Back From The Dead
  2. Own Worst Enemy
  3. Another Version Of The Truth
  4. The One That You Hated
  5. Good To Be Bad (featuring John 5)
  6. Just Don’t Ask (featuring Slash)
  7. Blown Away
  8. Waterfall
  9. Habit
  10. Your Diamonds
  11. Dead Wrong