I don't know what to call the development of a band like American Dog. For most bands, you would say that they have matured as a band. But I think if bassist/vocalist Michael Hannon or guitarist Steve Theado heard me say they had matured, they would knock me to the ground, give me a wedgey and piss in my face to prove that nothing had changed in the always crazy world of Canine Country! Clearly, a band like American Dog does not "mature", Just their playing does.
Reviewing POISON SMILE is pretty easy to do in all honesty. If you have liked them in the past, you will love this. If you hated them before, well...wait until tomorrow and a new review will be posted. As a fan, I'm always excited to receive a new American Dog release because they always deliver for me. Their own special brand of made in America, barroom rock n' roll is some of the best in a genre that is very crowded with great bands.
IMAGINE ME ALIVE
Sometimes things happen for a reason. Cult favorites Rude Girl were all set to become a dominant force on the metal scene back in the 80s, and that didn't happen for whatever reason. It certainly wasn't because they didn't have the talent. Vocalist Leather Leone was widely regarding as one of the very best heavy metal vocalists of that era - having the rare distinction of being compared favorably to guys like Halford and Dio at the time. Still, it didn't happen for Rude Girl, and following was some solo work, and then a solid and equally brilliant but unappreciated run as the vocalist of the long underground heroes Chastain. For whatever reasons, she just up and disappeared and was never heard from again...until recently.
I've long said it, and I'll continue to say it. Slash is the single most overrated guitar player on the planet. While I definitely acknowledge him as not only a solid player and someone that has a very distinct sound, I really laugh when I see him listed in the same sentences with Malmsteen, Van Halen, Dimebag, Zakk Wylde, Randy Rhoads, etc. If he was that unbelievable, he wouldn't have been able to have been replaced by whatever goof Axl Rose trots out from tour to tour.
BRING HEAVY ROCK TO THE LAND
Jorn Lande is one of the greatest living metal vocalists out there today, and yet there's surprisingly few people that truly appreciate his music. To think that he was chosen by the surviving members of Black Sabbath to stand in for the greatest metal vocalist ever to take a stage (Ronnie James Dio), one would think that alone would have seen his ascent to the elite position in metal reserved for such greats as Dickinson or Halford. For whatever reason, it hasn't happened though. Instead, Jorn Lande finds himself mixed into that collection of vocalists that everyone knows are brilliant but no one actually buys. That list includes guys like Russell Allen, Tim "Ripper" Owens and Primal Fear's Ralf Sheepers among others.
ELEGY OF BLOOD
It's amazing how many of these second and third tier "classic metal" bands there are out there. Specifically, it's truly amazing how many bands there are that around around 20 years old, never made much of an impact, but still crank out this kind of heavy metal that touches on thrash elements from time to time. We all know the big names that have had success doing this kind of music - Metal Church, Helloween - you know...classic metal bands that are either grand in their sound, heavy in their riffs, or both from time to time. For every great one though, there's always the more workmanlike bands that put out solid material but just can't find that extra whatever to take them over the top. Bands like Meliah Rage, Tankard or Helstar immediately jump to my mind.