The 1988 self-titled debut by the Riverdogs — a major-label release featuring hotshot guitarist Vivian Campbell — attained cult status over the years and is still hailed as a classic among melodic hard rock fans. Now, after more than two decades and a handful of overlooked subsequent releases (not to mention Campbell's unlikely rise as Steve Clark's replacement in Def Leppard) the band has reunited for a new record.
World Gone Mad actually began as a series of unfinished demos recorded in 2003 when the Riverdogs got back together to play a few live gigs. Upstart label MelodicRock Records approached band manager Paul Liszewski about the possibility of releasing those songs, the Riverdogs liked the idea, and all four original members — vocalist/guitarist Rob Lamothe, bassist Nick Brophy, drummer Marc Danzeisen and Campbell — wound up recording final versions of those demos and even wrote a few new tracks.
The result is a record lost in time. Save for the modern-sounding radio-ready title track, World Gone Mad reflects the musical era that spawned the Riverdogs. "Big Steel Town" boasts laid-back harmonies and blue-collar bravado, and the ballad "Just a Little Higher" could have been ripped from the Mr. Big songbook.
Unfortunately, Campbell (whose playing has vastly improved during his tenure in Def Leppard) seems underutilized. And this quick collection of eight songs is capped by a live 2004 version of "No Matter What," which does little to further either the Badfinger song or the Riverdogs' legacy. But the seven songs that precede it on World Gone Mad will leave longtime Riverdogs fans foaming at the mouth.
1) World Gone Mad
2) Big Steel Town
3) Best Day of My Life
4) Just a Little Higher
5) For You
6) This Empty Room
7) Glitter Town
8) No Matter What (Live)