UNITED WORLD REBELLION, CHAPTER 2
Part two of the three part Skid Row series known as UNITED WORLD REBELLION has been unleashed. Dubbed as RISE OF THE DAMNATION ARMY, UWR2 picks up where the first EP left off. There's simple math here. Over the course of these two EPs you have 14 songs. If you put the two together, you've got a really good full length release. That's definitely a testament to Skid Row, who have seemingly found their way back on course following a decade filled with a couple releases even their most hardcore fans (of which I think I'm one) had trouble supporting. Let's face it - REVOLUTIONS PER MINUTE was atrocious, and THICKSKIN had a few moments but was far too much of a sellout of their core sound to be appreciated. Thankfully, they have found their direction once again.
From the start, UWR2 is full of energy and that old school frenetic rock that made Skid Row one of the biggest bands of the 80s. "We Are The Damned" is a strong, anthemic opener that will have you rockin' out in your chair. It's followed nicely but a more punk influenced "Give It The Gun". The band are hitting on all cylinders here. Vocalist Johnny Solinger sounds about as good as he's sounded since he joined the band. Scotti Hill and Dave "Snake" Sabo seems to have refound the fire that powered them early in the band's career. Rachel Bolan thumps out a strong bottom end, and drummer Rob Hammersmith pounds the beat steadily and well. The entire band sounds great, be it on the faster songs, or th emore mid-tempo stuff like "Catch Your Fall".
The difference between the past Solinger efforts and the UNITED WORLD REBELLION releases is the songwriting. While the band claims otherwise, it seems like they made a conscious effort to write with a bit more focus on their past. It's working. They put it all togehter on the raucous "Damnation Day", which has the best galloping pace the band has done since "The Threat" on SLAVE TO THE GRIND. That's a LONG time ago, folks. Simply, the writing here is great, the performances are good, and Skid Row is once again compelling.
PITRIFF RATING - 88/100 - I think the days of needing to reference "the other guy" might finally be over. They were only relevant when the band's music didn't represent what most thought of as "Skid Row". These two EPs certainly bring the brand back into focus. UNITED WORLD REBELLION, CHAPTER 2 is worth the listen if you were a fan in the old days.