RUBBER CITY MELTDOWN
There's something that's just plain cool about a throwback band like the LA Knights. I'm not sure what it is. I'm sure for a lot of people, they will just scoff at them as dated dudes stuck in the 80s that haven't "grown with the times". That's always a convenient cop out excuse to me, especially when you look at how the rock world has grown. If you ask most people to name 5 great bands from the 80s, within seconds you'll get five names thrown back at you (top of my head, Motley Crue, Skid Row, Guns N' Roses, Metallica, Dokken). It will literally take them a second. As the same question for five great bands from 2000-2010. The names don't come back quite so quickly, now do they? The reason is simple. The music was just better, or at a minimum more memorable universally. I'm the first guy that will admit that a LOT of the bands from the 80s were pretty embarrassing, but more times than not, they just weren't. At least musically, they were almost all solid. To do a throwback band now, you not only have to be excellent musically, but you also have to be thick skinned enough to not take the criticism to heart. Meet Akron, Ohio's LA Knights!
On their Facebook page, the band compare themselves to Motley Crue, Queen, Van Halen and Guns n' Roses. I have to say that other than the basic style, I hear none of that. Instead, this band reminds me of a band that didn't make it really far in the 80s, but were absolutely killer. That band was Junkyard. To be even more specific, RUBBER CITY MELTDOWN reminds me a whole lot of Junkyard 2nd, almost dirty rock/blues album SIXES, SEVENS AND NINES. This has a lot to do with two parts - vocalist Dave Fanz and guitarist Jozey. With Fanz, his upper ranged vocal is almost a dead ringer for that of Junkyard's David Roach. Songs like "Don't Cha" just bristle with a vibe that makes you want to do a double shot of Jack Daniels and do some circle spinning of your head to make your long gone long hair flail away. He's not only complimented by Jozey on guitar, but he's enhanced by him. At least on this release, Jozey brings a dirty guitar sound to the fold that is reminiscent of a day that has long since, and unfortunately, left. Hearing songs like "Light It Up", you really get vibe that just rocks from this band. Like almost every band of the past, they have a killer power ballad to enhance the disc for the chicks. "Forever" is very much an 80s sounding ballad, and it's gritty sound combined with the powerful building rhythm section of bassist Troy Poder and drummer Dennis Jaeger leading into the chorus as well as the guitar solo in the center of the song reminds me a lot of the song "Simple Man" from the once again referenced band Junkyard.
PITRIFF RATING - 88/100 - As throwback albums go, this is one of the more solid ones I've heard. Very well written songs crafted together and performed by guys that clearly grew up influenced by both the major and minor players in the 80s metal scene, RUBBER CITY MELTDOWN showcases a band that all of us that are too fat for our packed away Spandex pants will still appreciate. Diggin' it!