UNITED WORLD REBELLION: CHAPTER 1
Let's just be honest here. Skid Row has done themselves no favors since Johnny Solinger took over as the lead vocalist. They have put out two really subpar albums; subpar at least to those of us that were fans of their great past. I'm more giving than most, and even with that, I found both REVOLUTIONS PER MINUTE and THICKSKIN to be pretty much unlistenable (even though both did have a couple of tolerable moments). It's a shame too, because the band clearly can do some good things with Solinger, who doesn't sound like their old singer Sebastian Bach, but has enough of a "real rock" sound to fit well with their music (both the past stuff, and what they can do moving forward). If nothing else, listening to UNITED WORLD REBELLION: CHAPTER 1 seems to tell a story that the band finally understands what they need to be doing. By far, this is the best thing Skid Row has done since SUBHUMAN RACE.
To be completely fair to Solinger, the problems with their previous two albums had more to do with the band and the songwriting than it did with Solinger's performance. It just seemed like the band lost focus on what the name "Skid Row" meant with those past two albums. For UNITED WORLD REBELLION, it's clear that they have recorded music designed to "sound" like Skid Row. Listening to songs like "Get Up", there are some clear reminders of songs like "Mudkicker"; specifcally in the guitar and basslines provided by Dave "Snake" Sabo and Rachel Bolan. Even on songs like "Stitches" where they take cues from THICKSKIN ("New Generation"), they've chosen one of the better places to draw from of the post-Bach era. For some, this song may draw a bit too directly from "New Generation", but it rocks regardless of being somewhat of a clone. "Kings Of Demolition" has a cool vibe to it that feels cut straight from "Livin' On A Chain Gang". "Let's Go" is a pretty terrible song lyrically, but in true 80s metal fashion, it doesn't really matter because the song flat out rocks. All in all, UNITED WORLD REBELLION is a very, very good listen.
PITRIFF RATING - 88/100 - Skid Row is a band that I, personally, never gave up on. They entertained me in their heyday about as much as any band in that era; enough so that I'm always willing and anxious to hear what they are doing. UNITED WORLD REBELLION brings things back around for the band, as it's very SLAVE TO THE GRIND-esque. If you're like me and have been waiting for a decade for them to come back to kicking ass, the wait is over. This one rocks!