Rating: 8 out of 10
L.A. Guns has always been one of my favorite bands that . While everyone else was dying their hair blond, and going for the neon glitz, the band almost always kept things black, and on the darker side, from an image standpoint. Guitarist Tracii Guns was one of the first people in hard rock and metal to cut his hair, just to prove that he was not going to let the image trump his musical ability. When others were trying to further show their overindulgence, they toned things back further and released Hollywood Vampires, and album that had very little distortion, and was more of a 70s rock throwback. The band has for the most part put out solid material, regardless of the lineup. Their debut album is one of my all-time favorite albums, and while I was getting into much heavier music, and leaving glam metal behind, the debut album has always been there, their music has always been present in my life since I was given a Maxell cassette that had the aforementioned debut album on one side, and Cocked And Loaded on the other. Yes, they have always been known for throwing in an obligatory ballad or two on each of their albums, but have always had a heavier side, and much more musicianship than most of the other bands from that era.
So, onto the big reunion between Tracii and Phil Lewis, I really approached this release with caution. Very few bands are able to rekindle their original spark, nonetheless put together a decent album beyond a single or two. I’m glad to say that this album really surprised me in how much I liked it. It has touches of what made the band great to begin with. Rawness, grittiness, sleaziness where needed, and bombastic guitars where needed, coupled with the great melodies Phil Lewis has always brought to the table. My only real gripe with the album is the drum sound, which I am not a fan of at all. It also would have been cool to have Stacey Blades as the second guitarist and see what the combination of Tracii and Stacey would have sounded like, as I think they could have offered some pretty sick alternating solos, they could have pushed each other to achieve further greatness. With that said, there isn’t one track that I can point to and say this out and out sucks. They even go as far as truly wearing their influences on their sleeves on several tracks, much more than they have in past. Where you could sort of get an Aerosmith vibe in the past, they have released the best Aerosmith track of the last 20 years called Kill It Or Die. The closing track is a huge homage to the late great Randy Rhodes, who was Tracii’s guitar teacher, it is called Gave It All Away, and they could have easily named it Diary Of A Madman II. This album is highly recommended to anyone that is even remotely a fan of the band.
Standout tracks: It’s All The Same To Me, Speed, A Drop Of Bleach, Gave It All Away