Spread Eagle (Lovember)
You've probably heard me rail on in various places that Love/Hate was way better than Guns 'N Roses at making that kind of music, and that Appetite is crazily over-rated. Well, Spread Eagle is in that camp as well, and in both cases, I often forget that there's a good three years separating the bands I'm championing here versus GN'R. In any event, take that for what you will, but take with it my sincere exhortations that NYC's Spread Eagle, through their two albums, '90's self-titled and '92's Open To The Public, made equal or better scratch 'n' claw party metal than the Gunners ever did (Love/Hate - no contest - geniuses). And now the molten, screechy, hell-raisin' debut has been reissued, although there's nothing to the booklet and no bonus tracks, nor is it remastered, making it no improvement on an old MCA copy you might find. Ray West is in the Axl spot, also recalling Baz in full flight, and the production is all about heaving, abrasive guitars. So yeah, check out this small Lovember label (they've also done an old Angel album) if you want to pick up an old sleaze metal album that packed an electrocuting ka-pow of a punch. But hey, let's face it, this is good because it pretty much had to be, given the mountain of party metal that came before, and so much before, that there's a bit of a deflating vibe given that Spread Eagle was just pulling up and sparking up as the party was in fact ending.
ROSS THE BOSS
New Metal Leader (AFM)
Original Manowar guitarist Ross The Boss was also a Dictator on Shakin' Street, so he's been around a bunch of cool bands. Love the guy, and as a guitarist, man, he's just got this carnal electric attack that doesn't reinvent the wheel, but works because of his solid grounding in meat and potatoes rock 'n' roll. But yeah, the ongoing existence of Manowar, and his acrimonious relationship with Joey DeMaio has always stuck in his New York craw. So, amusingly, here he is with a new album stickered "The best 'Manowar' album since Kings Of Metal." And that's what Ross is after in every facet, including cover art, lyrics, cannon-like drums, buzzing bass, midrange-mad production on the guitars, and epic crunching traditional metal of that weirdly thumping power metal sort. In fact, this project came from Ross playing with a Manowar tribute band over in Europe, and that's exactly who is now "Ross The Boss" (I actually like that name, and am glad it's not The Ross The Boss Band or any crap like that). Most addictive track is the out of character "glam" rocker 'May The Gods Be With You' plus it's cool that Ross' ex-Brain Surgeon cohorts Al Bouchard (BOC drummer) and Deb Frost (now ex-of Albert!) co-write two tracks. Final impressive bolt is vocalist Patrick Fuchs... now, reviews flooding in say he's no good, and I was leaning that way at first, but now dig his weird, human, slightly imprecise dimension - y'know, I'm just kinda glad there's this sense of very European imperfection to this thing - think Overdrive or Highway Chile or even Blaze for smokey sonorousness.
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