REBORN IN DEFIANCE
Sure, the 20 years later thing brought some interest to this release. Yes, the reunion of that classic lineup made you look up and think, "man, can they really bring it back the way it used to be?" Well, what's forgotten in those initial thought are those 20 years; 20 long years where this lineup wasn't together. Twenty years where the guys didn't continue their growth together as a band. Two decades that saw this lineup go on very different paths as individuals. The long and the short of it - REBORN IN DEFIANCE is a decent release from an older and less angst filled version of a legendary hardcore superband.
BREAK THE SPELL
I'm sure I'll get crucified for even reviewing this new release by Daughtry, but fuck it! I like this guy's tunes. In short, Daughtry is the only American Idol rocker to make it without the show's help after he was cast off the show. He's also the only one that's had success outside of the pop world that American Idol caters to. Musically, Daughtry has been solid, and has been good enough that a good number of bands have been willing to record with him without worrying that the AI stigma would infect them. Finally, let's face it. In today's world where there's almost no good hard rock being released, Daughtry is kind of like Nickelback without all the suck tunes.
I make no secrets about the fact that I literally despise Nikki Sixx. I find it sickening that he's used his hedonistic, ridiculous addictions of the past to profit from. See, I was there in the 80s, and was a huge Motley Crue fan. Nikki Sixx did not suffer from the disease of addiction. In fact, he flaunted it. At least outwardly, Motley Crue were proud to be junkies, flying the flag of abuse under the guise of it all being for "sex, drugs and Rock n' Roll". I know as a teenager, I was heavily influenced by this, and I can tell you for a fact that I snorted more than one line of coke with "Dancin' On Glass" playing in the background at a party. I find it disgusting that Sixx and his media machine prop him up as an overcomer of this disease, when the reality is he used it to make money when he was a user, and he continues to make money from it now that he's stopped. Maybe I'm crazy here, but giving up smack is not heroic...it's what you are supposed to do.
LIVE FROM THE LIVING ROOM
It seems that all previous pains in the Mr. Big camp have been forgotten. Mr. Big returned last year with a great album, tour, and now a fairly intimate acoustic live album called LIVE FROM THE LIVING ROOM. It's good to see. This band that was always strong on musicianship might be the band of all bands best suited to do an unplugged set. Not only are their songs very condusive to this kind of setting, but they are so far superior a class of musicians than the average band that attempts to try this. They aren't hacks like Poison who just sound awkward when performing the songs outside of the defined box of their original recordings.
Lamb Of God
Being honest here, a lot of people didn't like WRATH a whole lot, although I didn't fully understand why. Sure they ventured a touch from the tried and true, but ultimately it sounded pretty close to what Lamb Of God has generally sounded like. If anything, it may have been too close to being a sequel to SACRAMENT, but certainly wasn't an album that caused this band to need of a "comeback". That said, Lamb Of God have delivered what some will call a comeback, and what others will call the great next step from the band.
THE THIRD CAGE
I get the math. When a major band changes singers, the next guy never gets the respect of the first. If they change again, that guy always gets disrespected greatly. Look no further than the once again popular Van Halen for proof. Anyone want to argue that Gary Cherone was ever given respect in that band? I thought not. In my eyes though, the single most disrespected singer in rock history has to be vocalist Tony Martin. Martin had the distinction of being the guy who replaced Dio in Black Sabbath. You remember - Dio replaced Ozzy, and then Martin replaced Dio. As third guy on the totem pole of Black Sabbath, I would argue that his catalog from start to finish was stronger than the Ozzy era (the whole Ozzy era, not just the first 4 albums). I personally will always reach for an album like HEADLESS CROSS long before something like TECHNICAL ECSTACY. Maybe it's just me, but I have long respected and sung the praises of the Martin era of Sabbath.