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Black 'N Blue: Hell Yeah

Ever wondered what happened to the '80's L.A. Hair Metal band, Black 'N Blue? Well Frontiers Records is hoping that plenty of people are as they have released a new Black 'N Blue record called Hell Yeah. Back for the first time since their last record back in '87, Black 'N Blue are 4/5 original with original guitar player, Tommy Thayer, now a member of KISS, playing the role of Ace Frehley. The 2011 version of Black 'N Blue is Jaime St. James – vocals, Jef Warner – guitar, Patrick Young – bass, Pete Holmes – drums and new guitar player, Shawn Sonnenschein – guitars and this new album is a mixture of sounds of the previous 4 releases from the '80's.

Back from a stint as frontman for the band Warrant, Jaime St. James and Co. have 13 new tracks on Hell Yeah that are very much steeped in all things '80's, including completely clichéd and hokey lyrics as well as predictable and done before songs. With songs like, "Candy", "Jaime's Got The Beer", "Angry Son of a Bitch" and "Monkey", it's easy to get an idea of the type of Sleeze Rock that Black 'N Blue are still trying to sell. They call it classic Black 'N Blue, but I would call it watered down Hard Rock. The lyrics are almost laughable and this coupled with the almost unrecognizable vocals of said Mr. St. James, equals a very, par for the course record. St. James' vocals sound like a guy that is 35 years older and a chain smoker. He sounds NOTHING like the guy that sang the classic, "Hold On To 18" or "Autoblast". I know we all get older, but jeez, he sounds like a completely different guy and half of the guy he used to be.

Sonically, guitarist Jef Warner (who also produced the record) did a nice job in making Hell Yeah have a modern metallic sheen, but quite honestly the proof is in the pudding, so to speak. Hell Yeah doesn't really leave you with much to remember or to take away from it. It's a pretty bland and ho-hum type of record. Unfortunately Black 'N Blue were never a big name band back in the day and at this point they are more known for their former guitarist being a member of KISS than they are any of their 4 records from the '80's and Hell Yeah doesn't do much in '11 to make them any more of a household name. Hell Yeah doesn't suck, it just isn't very good.

Track Listing

  1. Monkey
  2. Target
  3. Hail Hail
  4. Fool's Bleed
  5. C'mon
  6. Jaime's Got The Beer
  7. Angry Drunk Son Of A Bitch
  8. So Long
  9. Trippin'
  10. Falling Down
  11. Candy
  12. Hell Yeah!
  13. World Goes Round

Added: June 11th 2011
Reviewer: Butch Jones
Related Link: Band MySpace Page
Hits: 1718
Language: english

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Black 'N Blue: Hell Yeah
Posted by Steven Reid, SoT Staff Writer on 2011-06-10 16:18:09
My Score:

I would guess that your view of Black n Blue's studio comeback album Hell Yeah! may well depend on what you thought of the band back in their 80's heyday. For me their third and fourth albums (Nasty Nasty from '86 and In Heat from '88) were on constant rotation on the old death deck and I found their heavier take on the glam/sleaze sound of the day to be a little more genuine than bands like Motley Crue or Skid Row. Maybe also the fact that Nasty Nasty especially added a little AC/DC blues grit to proceedings also helped as well.

So with four fifths of the band back together (nobody can really blame guitarist Tommy Thayer for playing amateur dramatics as Ace Frehley in Kiss can they?), BnB return with the much delayed Hell Yeah!. Now after a few spins I personally was left wondering exactly how long some of this sat on the shelf for, with the vibe in places being very In Heat, while other songs are reasonably far removed from there. Having said that the sound is still Black n Blue and while singer Jaime St. James may have aged ungracefully, (in fact his vocals are definitely more grit n' spit than polish these days) you can still feel his attitude behind the songs and the guitar pairing of Jeff Warner and new guy Shawn Schonnenschein combine to grind out some tasty heavy riffs that have you hooked from the first listen. The likes of "Monkey", "Hail Hail" and "World Goes Round" have you singing along from the first listen and if a little dumb-ass rock still ticks your boxes then I've no doubt you'll be hollering along too. Ironically given their departed guitarists destination, "Target" sounds like something early Kiss would have breathed fire to, while "C'Mon" is more like an outtake from the same band's unmasked era. Production wise Warner has added a little more contemporary sheen to the songs and while this is retro rock, it doesn't actually sound like an album from back in the day.

Basically if you liked Black n Blue and are able to cope with a slightly updated sound, then you're gonna like Hell Yeah!, if they were never your thing, then they never will be.

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