THE LORD OF STEEL
I'm sure Manowar had to make this album. I'm sure the Magic Circle of Manowarriors expected it. Just like Kiss keeps putting out records that pander to the "character" the band created, so too does Manowar need to create a record steeped in the tricks and turns of its back catalog.
That's the only reason I can gather that guys looking at 60 are still compelled to write material like this.
To my ears, the band sounds a bit like a middling Scandinavian power metal band bashing out NWOBHM-styled tunes. In theory, that would be great for me, but the band keeps trotting out the same tired ideas, the same riffs, the same choruses, the same Valhalla battles fought over and over since 1982's Battle Hymns.
WHAT'S IT TO YA
What is there to say about Snew? They are the quintessential shit kicker band. There's several out there. There's bands like Broken Teeth, Rhinobucket and American Dog to name a few. Then, there's Snew. Snew has been kicking around for a few years now, growing a couple fans at a time but making an impact independently with a level of persistence that only guys that are truly dedicated to their craft can appreciate. Given that life forces me to be wedged in with a lot of image conscious, douchey modern metal/post hardcore bands that would never understand this level of commitment, I'm always one to give a DIY band like Snew every chance. Thankfully, they have proven the musical chops once again to warrant some attention from not only me, but the hard rock community at large. WHAT'S IT TO YOU feels just like the boot hitting your ass when you were a teenager telling your dad that you couldn't do something because it was too hard.
It's been a decade of growth, development, change and experimentation for the guys in Pennsylvania's Icarus Witch. The band that exists today simply would not have written albums like CAPTURE THE MAGIC or SONGS FOR THE LOST. Being completely honest, it just seems like a completely new band. Not only has this band gone through numerous member changes (I think they are the modern day Spinal Tap as I believe they are on drummer #5), but those new members have all instilled creative changes to where the music is different from what was first experienced. If your first taste of Icarus Witch is RISE, you would never suspect that this was once a traditional metal/power metal band only a few years ago. That said, it's doubtful you'd be disappointed either.
Ugly Kid Joe
STAIRWAY TO HELL
Ugly Kid Joe was one of my very favorite bands of the later hair band era. They got massively popular off a song that, to me anyway, wasn't very good ("Everything About You"), but they backed it up with three albums that really kicked ass (AMERICA'S LEAST WANTED, MENACE TO SOBRIETY and the hugely overlooked MOTEL CALIFORNIA). With much better than average musicianship, and attitude filled lyrics that were literally spit at the listener, Ugly Kid Joe were the original "anti-hair band" hair band of the era. It didn't last too long though, and before we knew it, they were gone. Vocalist Whit Crane bounce around in bands like Life Of Agony and Medication, before joining up with former UKJ bandmate and drummer Shannon Larkin in Another Animal. Larkin also found a career in a little band called Godsmack. Dave Fortman put down his guitar and put on his producer's cap, working with tons of bands from Superjoint Ritual to Otep, among others. In short, their youthful success led several guys to other careers in music.
LIVING LIKE A RUNAWAY
There's several thoughts that I have about Lita Ford, but two really jumped out at me making me think that LIVING LIKE A RUNAWAY would be a turd. First and foremost, her last album WICKED WONDERLAND is, arguably, one of the single worst albums I've ever heard from an artist that's had success in the past. Seriously, in her genre, WICKED WONDERLAND sits on the same mantle as such great albums as Dokken's SHADOWLIFE, Lynch Mob's SMOKE THIS, Scorpions' EYE II EYE and Gene Simmons' ASSHOLE...the mantle of shame, that is. Secondly, Lita's never exactly been known for recording great albums in the first place. She's OK and she's had her share of hits over the years. To my ear though, Lita was never even in the same ballpark as Doro and was only slightly better than Vixen back in the day. Needless to say, none of that bodes well for expectations for LIVING LIKE A RUNAWAY.