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Skid Row: The Gang’s All Here

Had you written off Skid Row? I’d written off Skid Row. A band with their 1989 self-titled debut who found the rock n’ roll world at their feet slowly but surely allowing themselves to become an afterthought, maybe even an irrelevance. We all know how it goes, the songs “18 And Life” and “Youth Gone Wild” catapulting Snake Sabo, Scotti Hill, Rachel Bolan, Rob Affuso and Sebastian Bach to near superstardom, with the album that followed, Slave To The Grind, merely confirming their surely destined future dominance. A stuttering third album, Subhuman Race, was viewed as a reaction to grunge and a mere blip in ascendancy, but with a major fall out about turning the band back into an opening act - admittedly for the reformed KISS, so hardly small potatoes - Bach was shown the door, with promises from others in the ranks that they’d never work with him ever again.

It took a full eight years for a follow up, Thickskin, to arrive in 2005, singer Johnny Solinger finally given the chance to front the band in the studio having joined some six years prior, but the world had pretty much moved on. Affuso had also vacated the drum stool by this point and it would be a further three years before Revolutions Per Minute would be pretty much ignored by all and sundry, with a pair of extended EPs in 2013/14 Solinger’s final recorded output with the band - and he would, after sixteen years with Skid Row, depart the year after. An ill-fated team-up with ex-TNT frontman Tony Harnell proved as short as most people thought it would be, before one-time Dragonforce singer ZP Theart took up the role for the next seven years.

Then, out of the blue, came the announcement that Theart was gone and in his place was none other than former H.e.a.t vocalist Erik Gronwall and immediately, everything suddenly made sense. This is a guy chock full of vocal attitude, possessing a look, a hunger and the singing chops to not just rekindle a long extinguished fire, but to make it burn brighter than anyone dared hope possible. Joining Gronwall, Sabo, Hill and Bolan is drummer Rob Hammersmith, who jumped aboard in 2010, and together they have delivered a completely unexpected second bite at the cherry - and one they don’t waste.

With no prior warning, this band look reinvigorated and they sound even better, every single one of the ten tracks on The Gang’s All Here bursting at the seams with vigour, authenticity and well placed belief. “Hell Or High Water” explodes into life, a mid-paced stomp that announces Gronwall as the perfect frontman for this band - and yes, this would have been good enough to fit on the debut! The single “The Gang’s All Here” follows up with a demanding beat and swirling riff, as the vocals are spat out daring you not to join this gang’s number, while “Not Dead Yet” - do you think the guys are trying to tell us something with these song titles? - cranks things up yet another notch. Sabo and Hill are immense on guitars, while Bolan and Hammersmith lay down a bottom end so thick it might just swallow you up. The difference maker though is Gronwall’s presence - this guy wants it and with his howling performance on “Time Bomb”, full-throat combustion on “When The Lights Go On” and irresistible snarl during “World On Fire” he deserves to be a star and then some. Honestly, he is superb on every track here and the band know exactly how to use this new weapon they’ve found. It may have taken them 26 years, but finally it’s safe to say that Skid Row have discovered the perfect man to take up their vocal reigns and front this gang. I’m almost tempted to say Sebastian who?

Track Listing
1. Hell Or High Water
2. The Gang’s All Here
3. Not Dead Yet
4. Time Bomb
5. Resurrected
6. Nowhere Fast
7. When The Lights Come On
8. Tear It Down
9. October’s Song
10. World On Fire

Added: October 19th 2022
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Skid Row online
Hits: 687
Language: english

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