HardReviews 3
by Martin Popoff

Gary Moore - Scars
(Sanctuary)

It's been a strange career path for Gary Moore, beginning in the late '60s with Skid Row, moving through the likes of Colosseum, Thin Lizzy, G-Force, BBM and a sporadic bunch of solo albums through 30 years of guitarin'. But after another blues album (the genre in which Moore struck surprise solo success in the early '90s), the man is back with an exhilarating power trio spread that isn't as heavy as people are saying, even if what it does is present a blindingly bright, energetic, commercial and riffy form of the blues. The weapons are many but three leap out: Gary's life-affirming guitar slashings and tones fer miles, the general production of the whole thing, and Gary's under-rated vocal prowess, Moore sounding lascivious, up for anything, and this from a man in his 50s! The trio format allows the band to breathe, kick and wail like heavy Hendrix and Vaughn (spot the riffs), Moore being joined by ex-Skunk Anansie bassist Cass Lewis and Primal Fear drummer Darrin Mooney for what sounds like a celebration, not so much modern but youthful, highly charged and infectious and transforming, even if the platform is a predictable, traditional music form.
Rating 7.5

Various Artists - American Hair Bands Vol. 1
(Versailles)

Sure, no one needs a gaggle of half famous and whozit bands playing a variety of '80s hits, but that doesn't mean it won't be fun trawling through these 17 selections, a few of which unfortunately are laughing out loud bad. Most (all?) of this is previously released, including Cult material from the label's Fire Woman tribute; (best of the previously heard: American Dog's fierce rendition of Under The Blade) and much is quite weird, most baffling being Enuff Znuff doing Yankee Rose with a frightening skank vocal from the usually sensuous Donnie Vie. Closes with a killer re-arrangement of Shout At The Devil which suddenly transforms into a rap track and then back to major grooves, evoking remembrances of Body Count. More of this would have been welcome in place of the four or five straight renditions with bad productions. Long, detailed bios are provided for each band, not all of which are playing material by "American Hair Bands" although they themselves, might fall under that category.
Rating 5

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