We all know about Skid Row’s past. I’m not going over old roads that’s been run over a million times because there are way too many potholes to avoid. All we need to focus on is the fact that Skid Row have put out their strongest album since the Slave to the Grind days. New vocalist Erik Gronwall has stamped himself all over the album and this means that there is a huge step up in quality. I really can’t emphasise enough how good he is.
This new opus is called The Gang’s All Here and the album cover with the five band members sporting matching stars and stripes leather jackets, shows a united front (well, back actually) and it really feels that Skid Row will at last lose the Sebastian Bach shaped shadow that has loomed over them for so long. The current line up of Dave Sabo, Rachel Bolan, Scotti Hill, Gronwall, and drummer Rob Hammersmith really are a juggernaut of classic metal. The album really gels as a whole and the crystal-clear production from Nick Raskulinecz ensures that the songs leap from the speakers with a newfound energy that the other incarnations of Skid Row have struggled to achieve.
The album opens with Hell or Highwater, it’s a perfect introduction with ex H.E.A.T. man Gronwall spitting out the lyrics and hitting some incredible high notes. The band really seem to have a new lease of life, there are crunchy, heavy riffs everywhere with more hooks than Leatherface’s butchering room. The title track gives a cheeky nod to Tricky Little Vicky who first appeared in the band’s 1989 song Rattlesnake Shake. Not Dead Yet is an up-tempo affair with another ear worm of a chorus, the band sound like they are having the time of their lives here, a real highlight of the album. I can imagine beaming smiles all round during the recording process.
Time Bomb is a down tuned monster with an absolute beast of a riff that Iommi would be proud of. Resurrected sounds like a band that have been just that. They really have been born again with this line up, strong songs, superb performances, and a real throwback to when the band were at their best. Nowhere Fast is another barnstormer with some great guitar work from Sabo and Hill. The album closes with World on Fire which is no doubt a hint to the last few years we have all experienced, as well as the environmental disasters that seem to be more and more frequent.
I really think that this incarnation of the band will be the most successful since the Bach heydays. Miss this album at your peril. The band are touring the UK and Europe from Oct 19th and judging by a few YouTube punters videos that I checked out before sitting down to review this album, they will be a force to be reckoned with live.
Author: Kenny Kendrick