Welcome to the musical meandering insights of Aaron Joy. Here you'll find 600 reviews of CDs & DVDs of rock & metal in all its variations, mainstream & indie. What they all share is that the album or band is unique in some way & not every submission was reviewed. Please share these reviews or link to them if you like what you read. Reviews are no longer being posted here but feel free to e-mail Aaron & post comments. (Formerly the Roman Midnight Music Blog) (last update 5/23/2017)

September 2, 2010

Tracii Guns' L.A. Guns ~ Waking The Dead

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Style: hard rock, heavy metal
Label: Spitfire
Year: 2002
Home: Los Angeles

Members: Phil Lewis ~ vocals
Tracii Guns ~ guitar
Adam Hamilton ~ bass
Steve Riley ~ drums

Guest: Ricky Beck Mahler ~ guitar

The first two songs ("Don't Look At Me That Way" & "Ok, Let's Roll") open the album with some of the stronger riffs you can have this side of Alice In Chains or Megadeth & I chose those bands deliberately because it's a bit of both of them. I'll confess that after having my introduction to L.A. Guns being the one album with unique vocalist Jezzy Pearl, the remaining songs on this album just sound average to me ... or I should say, voiced by just another wannabe Blackie Lawless, Lizzy Borden, Axl Rose or any other L.A. glam rocker. But, the riffs are so strong & heavy they offset the lyrics, which do occasionally rise to the moment. One lyrically top example is "Waking The Dead" which also features some killer guitar solos. But, weak & cliched lyrics is more often than not the situation with rock bands where the subject matter is the same old sex, society & partying. This also means the ballads are weaker than the hard rockers because lyrics are the secret to most ballads being successful. But, in the midst of every one of these weak ballads comes a searing guitar solo flying out of the air. Though I hate to say it due to the history of the band Slash does often come to mind in sound & style. I'll also confess that I enjoy the later hard rock days where it wasn't necessary to slap a slow acoustic ballad in the middle of a hard-rocking album, let alone always have a ballad on every album. Okay, Poison is famous for it's ballad, but not every ballad is great & some bands are better rockin hard. Luckily, the ballads are in the middle of the album & are quickly passed through to end the album on an equally as high note as it started, as there's nothing worse than an album that starts off strong but it's not going fast enough to win the race. This album might not have some of the fan accolades that L.A. Guns' earlier releases got but I believe it's a career highlight & among their best. This is a necessary album for 80's hair metal fans. It's pretty much a point-by-point textbook perfect album of what you expect from this style of music. But, for once, playing by the rules kicks major ass with all the elements in place & musical styles every band should cover from punk to metal to ballads to ripping guitar solos. This is the album Guns'R'Roses should have followed Use Your Illusion I & II with. As for why I list them as Tracii Guns' L.A. Guns & not just L.A. Guns it's because there's two bands with this name so I feel it important to give recognition to the difference.

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