Tom Englund is the mainstay, the founder, the main writer, the vocalist and also one of the guitarists.
Opener and first pre-release single, “Forever Outsider” showcases the power of the band at its metal best, while the second pre-release single “Eternal Nocturnal” showcases the power of the band at its hard rock best with sing-along Choruses and Henrik Danhage stealing the spotlight with his unbelievable, shredalicious and memorable solo spotlight.
“In Absence Of Sun” is heartfelt, melancholic, mournful and emotive while “You From You” has this Michael Schenker ballad like vibe in the intro.
I grew up on the 80’s Twisted Sister albums. I have em all, from “Ruff Cutts” to “Love Is For Suckers”. Albums like “Stay Hungry” I have four times. On cassette, vinyl and on CD I have the original issue and “Still Hungry” anniversary edition with extra tracks and demos.
I eagerly waited for Desperado, only to read it got shelved. Then I heard about Widowmaker and waited for those albums, which finally got a release in Australia, almost half a year after it was released in the U.S. And I never stopped following Snider’s career.
“Never Let The Bastards Wear You Down” had Dee digging into the vaults to grab songs written for Twisted Sister and Desperado albums. “We Are The Ones” showcased an alternative rock vibe with massive anthemic Choruses. And while I like it when artists branch out, I didn’t like the Showtunes covers album.
Dee Snider has a voice for heavy metal.
If you don’t believe me, check out tracks like “The Fire Still Burns”, “Burn In Hell”, “Under The Blade”, “Stay Hungry” and “Come Out And Play”.
And his metal vocal style was forgotten behind the big clips of “We’re Not Gonna Take It” and “I Wanna Rock”.
A simple dare from Jamey Jasta, brought forth “For The Love Of Metal” and it caught a lot of people by surprise. “Leave A Scar” carries forth the metal torch that Dee Snider has recently lit. I’ve got the Dee-Lux Wooden Box Edition (limited to 500) on pre-order via Napalm Records which comes with a 7 inch single of a non-album track.
The band line-up is Dee Snider on vocals, Charlie Bellmore on guitar, Nick Bellmore on drums, Russell Pzütto on bass and Nick Petrino on Guitar.
“I Gotta Rock (Again)”
The intro riff from Bellmore is excellent and the drum groove smashes you awake.
A fitting title for a return to live music after a pandemic.
I can’t stop Be a lifer til I’m done Gonna ride it til I’m gone For as long as I’m breathing!
Even a strain of COVID-19 couldn’t stop Dee from rocking out again.
And the lead work from Bellmore and Petrino is Judas Priest “Tipton and Downing” like.
How good is the foot stomping riff after the lead breaks?
“All Or Nothing More”
It could have come from a Megadeth or Metallica album as the riffs are super head banging material.
What is your life? Choose a path, decide what you will do Anger and strife Won’t get you where you need
A new call to arms for a new generation needing some guidance. Choose a path and enjoy the journey and remember it’s okay to take some twist and turns along the way.
The Chorus is anthemic.
All or nothing All or nothing more Make a choice Use your voice It’s your soul you’re fighting for
Its written in a period of political upheaval and if people didn’t use their voice for change, then the same corrupt leaders would remain.
There is this bass riff after the Chorus that reminds me of “Holier Than Thou” and I like it.
And the wah-wah is out for the lead break.
“Down But Never Out”
Its furious, more Killswitch Engage like. Another empowerment anthem for the S.M.F’s.
Musically, its excellent.
And we could be down, it happens from time to time especially now, trying to survive a pandemic and lockdowns, but we are never out.
As the Chorus states, we’ll battle on and fight to turn things around.
“Before I Go”
My second favourite track.
The guitar work from Bellmore is excellent especially in the riff department.
Like the verses.
From the cradle to the grave You’ll be judged by those that you saved
And how the hell do you fit the words “gossamer wings” into an anthemic chorus?
The simple dynamic of quietening down after the solo is excellent.
The opening riff gets the head banging immediately.
Hey motherfucker, are you kidding me? You better get ready
The intention of the song is clear.
Now it’s open season I aim and never miss
If there was any confusion about the message in the song, I think this sums it up.
The riff after the second chorus. Fist pumping devil horns epic-ness.
My favourite track on the album.
The guitar riff to kick off the song reminds me of all the good things I like about the 80’s. I’m hearing George Lynch, EVH, a bit of Vito Bratta and Nuno Bettencourt.
Did I mention that Snider can rock pretty hard?
Fighting silent battles The war some must go through Now let us be guided Guided by the truth
The Chorus is one of the best I have heard for a long time.
Rising bravely to face this new day with hope Some kneel down with solemn pause
And the harmony solo. How good is it?
The only thing I can do once the song finishes is press repeat.
“Crying For Your Life”
It reminds me of “Reason To Kill” from Widowmaker. The clean tone intro hides the anger of the song.
You left your mark every step of the way You were so sure you wouldn’t have to pay Now look in the mirror, what do you see? Look in the mirror, no ride’s for free
Actions will have consequences.
Check out the riffs/music from 2.36.
It’s like a funeral march, very Paradise Lost like, aka “Draconian Times” album.
“In For The Kill”
A bone crunching riff along with the bass drum acting like a metronome starts the song off.
But it’s the harmony solo in the intro that gets me ready to break my desk.
I’m tired of waiting, sick of holding back Been ready for this day It’s not a reckoning and it’s not an attack I’ve got to have my say
If there’s any confusion to the songs intention, well the first four lines lay it all out.
Make sure you check out the excellent lead breaks.
“Time To Choose”
A thrash metal cut, with “Corpsegrinder” from Cannibal Corpse on backing vocals. Typing it feels strange. Death metal backing vocals.
How can death metal vocals be backing vocals?
Your dreadful choices you just can’t defend
Check out the technical guitar playing in the outro.
A great melodic Chorus for a super heavy groove metal cut.
And it’s the most hardest rocking and metallish love song I have ever heard.
A speed metal cut with a riff that reminds me of “Don’t Tread Of Me” and “Of Wolf And Man” in the intro. In the verses it reminds me of early Megadeth.
Your reckoning Is here There’s nothing that you can do You’re living In fear You’ll never know what hit you
And the drumming is relentless.
I like the ominous and slightly distorted intro which also serves as the Chorus riff.
Stand up Don’t leave your mark, leave a scar
“I carved my name in a tree. 55 years later, I went back to my school, and I saw the tree, and my name is still there. That’s a scar. That’s the difference. And that resonated in my head. When I was writing the song, ‘Stand,’ that line that’s where it comes from. Don’t leave your mark. Leave a scar.” Dee Snider in HollywoodLife.com
There aren’t a lot of artists in their mid-60’s producing quality music like this. Dee Snider is doing it and he’s making it look very easy. The Bellmore brothers are underrated talents as songwriters and instrumetalists, on the guitar and drums.
And hopefully my box set with the 7-inch single will arrive someday from Germany.