AFTERMATH OF THE LOWDOWN
Richie Sambora is an amazing talent who has wasted so much of that talent by toiling away in Bon Jovi for so many crummy, formulaic albums that followed KEEP THE FAITH. Those albums just seemed like lame, adaptive releases that packed little excitement or energy like the original Bon Jovi albums did. For Sambora though, his work outside of the framework has always been underappreciated by the masses, but consistently excellent. Both STRANGER IN THIS TOWN and UNDISCOVERED SOUL showcased not only a different side of Sambora as a player, but absolutely impressive lead vocals that were worthy of heading up a major rock band all by himself.
Accolades aside though, Sambora has had a few really tough years. He's had public romantic breakups and an equally public trip to rehab. While that may not have been good for his soul, it certainly led Sambora to write some of his best, most honest songs to date on AFTERMATH OF THE LOWDOWN. Without question, these songs ooze real emotion and were clearly written out of the true frustrations of his day to day life. Many of these songs, like "Weathering The Storm", are songs about breakups that feel not only recent, but painful. This song showcases Sambora's singing voice triumphantly; an almost Beatles-like quality takes over some parts (specifically right before the deeply bluesy solo in the middle of the song). Definitely some of Sambora's best work to date. This is definitely one of those songs that could have been a Bon Jovi classic in the same way that "Wanted Dead Or Alive" or "Always" have become.
This said though, there's a nice assortment of faster songs on AFTERMATH OF THE LOWDOWN as well. Songs like "Burn The Candle Down" are the kind of bluesy jams that have your toes tapping and your head bobbing as they kick in. Sambora shines guitarwise on this song as well, with a much dirtier, raw guitar sound than he's really ever showcased anywhere else in his recorded career. Still other songs like the taunting "Sugar Daddy" have an almost '70s rock vibe to them. Overall, it's just a cool album from a guy that's been in a largely overglorified yet average band for over 20 years now.
PITRIFF RATING - 88/100 - There's a video out there of Bon Jovi playing Japan in 1985. On the video, as they go into "In And Out Of Love", Sambora rips through a solo that leads into a blazing riff that dominates this live version of the song. Ever since that moment, most of the fire has been gone from Sambora. Certainly there's nothing heavy like that here on AFTERMATH OF THE LOWDOWN, but it's clear that he's got more passion and fire toward this project than he's had for anything else in a very long time. Excellent stuff from Richie Sambora once again. Well worth the purchase.