For a hard rock band from LA, a place heavily known for sleaze and hair metal bands from the likes of Motley Crue, it’s easy to fall into that category and continue to keep living in the 80’s. But with music and times changing, it’s nice to see a band evolve a little and with that being said, I’m really diggin’ the punk vibes from the Gunners!
Currently made up of members; Phil Lewis, Tracii Guns, Adam Hamilton, Johnny Martin and Shane Fitzgibbon, L.A. Guns are back, two years after their release of ‘The Missing Peace’, with a brand new album, ‘The Devil You Know’.
Opening track, ‘Rage’, is musically brilliant however I’m not a fan of the lyrical work and wasn’t hooked from the offset. It’s a shame really as I was expecting immensity from the start.
Then onto track two, ironically titled ‘Stay Away’ and I may do just that.
Title track ‘The Devil You Know’, is a good song with a brilliant backline but it certainly doesn’t come with an equally brilliant video, or album cover for that matter, which I think has been designed poorly and doesn’t look that rock n’ roll at all.
Luckily, there’s a saviour and a reason as to why I said at the beginning that I was ‘diggin’ the punky vibes’, as along came ‘Needle to the Bone’ with an energetic, sleazy, memorable and classic L.A. Guns sound also with a great hook, varying speeds and a slick, cool as a cucumber guitar solo. Bravo boys!
Hats off to frontman ‘Phil’ as even at 62 years young, he’s still sounding very much like he did in the early Guns days with a solid performance throughout. Another star performance to acknowledge is that of ‘Tracii Guns’, who’s dirty lead guitar solos make for a much underrated lead guitarist.
Taking an apparent influence from Led Zeppelin’s riffs, this angst ridden album does have some excellent tunes but the quality could be even finer if it wasn’t for such a poor technical mix.
Not to dwell too much on the negatives, as I continued to listen I thought that the definite stand out track would’ve been the previously mentioned, ‘Needle to the Bone’, but then I heard track no. 10 and WOW! I’m a sucker for a great melodic guitar driven tune, and this one certainly leapt out and hit me straight between the eyes. ‘Another Season in Hell’ is the epitome of great musicianship, accompanied with a positive face scrunching solo and raspy vocals.
Unfortunately though, I wasn’t too keen on the end bonus track ‘Boom’ and I feel like they should’ve left that one floating around in the atmosphere. But if you’re into that chanty, fast paced rock song with easy to learn lyrics, then I guess it could be classed as a bonus, who knows?! However, L.A. Guns are back and they clearly have something to say, so if you’re a long time Guns fan, this album is a must for you.
Reviewed by Alex Alicia Media
Released By Frontiers Music Srl on 29 March 2019
- Stay Away
- Loaded Bomb
- The Devil You Know
- Needle to the Bone
- Going High
- Gone Honey
- Don’t Need to Win
- Down that Hole
- Another Season in Hell
- Boom (Bonus Track)