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)

February 2, 2013

Vince Neil ~ Carved In Stone

(Click on heading to visit official website.)
Style: hard rock, industrial, electronica
Label: Beyond Records
Year: 1995
Home: Los Angeles, California

Members: Vince Neil ~ vocals
Brent Woods ~ guitars
Robbie Crane ~ bass
Vik Foxx ~ drums

I find there's nothing worse than seeing a musician jettison the one thing they had going for them. VN joined that club with his
second solo album Carved In Stone. His first album only swam ashore safely because it had the great & grealy forgotten guitarist Steve Stevens motoring riff & intricate riff. What a great captain to the ship ... oh, wait, he's only the second mate. The problem was the songs weren't as great as the one playing them so all the focus went on Stevens. VN was a second class citizen on his debut album, a captain who couldn't get the respect of his crew. But, it's his debut. We can forgive a first misstep, right? No surprise, the album soon sunk with all hands aboard. So, VN updated his sound with a more electronic industrial flavor outing, motor instead of sails, with loops, hip-hop scratches & beats & bursts of guitars. It could work. It has potential. It's paying more attention to the scene than what the scene was or even the music VN is famous for via Motley Crue. Opener "Breakin' In The Gun" sounds like VN grabbed from what was popular in Brooklyn & introduced it to L.A.. It's not so bad, not really ... then there's the rest of the album. & you thought he couldn't do worse than his solo debut? Where have you been hiding? VN is out to prove you wrong! That was just a trial run! When the songs work VN's voice is good but predictable, honestly once you've got VN's voice in your ear there's not much variation, & his creativity is interesting & certainly there's tracks here I'd return to for later listens. But, the others get deleted from my hard drive. As for keeping the full CD it's not really worth it unless you're a collector. It's one of those select the songs you like albums. The songs aren't any better than his debut, but the samples keep it interesting like Stevens did to the first. But, its sad that the reason we come to the album is to hear the singer & that's the last thing you ended up listening to. I do appreciate VN trying to update his sound, though really all he needed to do was fine tune the debut as that at its worst is better than this. Compared to some rockers who have gone into the sampling world this is one of the better outcomes. It does have potential & doesen't overdose the beats with the rock. & VN kept some of the sleaze (i.e. "The Crawl") & the rock guitars he's known for, not abandoning all. But, really, VN's solo outings have been the weakest out of everyone in Motley Crue. The worst moments, or those I'd recommend you to avoid, include" the industrial loops of "One Way" that could be better utilized by Marilyn Manson or NIN on a bad day; the horrible piano ballad "Skylar's Song"; "Make U Feel" which borrows without shame a riff from Black Sabbath's "Iron Man", but actually has a good chorus); "Find A Dream" what I call aka 'Find A Sample' & you'll see what I mean when you listen to it; "One Less Mouth To Feed" is a ramshackle hard rock affair; while the alt rock ballad "The Rift" must have been one of those last minute writing affairs so nobody realizes how bad it is. After such a list I almost feel bad ... knowing you're probably going to go to those tracks first & be so horrified you won't get to the good ones which I haven't mentioned. I love Motley Crue ... where the best songs are penned not by VN. While, as I said, other musicians have experiment with far worse outcomes, but also far better. But, the difference is they knew what their sound was to be able to move away from it. VN has no sound outside of Motley Crue & thus his solo albums are always trying to fly before they know which direction to fly in, or in the middle of the ocean without a compass ... but you can follow the little Stevens bird, he'll get you somewhere. Okay, I give VN credit for a cohesive vision for the over-all project. It's not a disjointed affair of many styles ... it is disjointed, though, in the fact of many bad songs & some good ones.

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