Warning: TNA's Finger of the Trigger is the most blatantly Eighties pop-metal record I've heard by a new artist in a long time. And – damn! -- does it sound refreshing. This album contains, within 41 minutes, everything that was once great about arena rock.
Singer Mike McManamon's deep-rooted voice is a far cry from the high-pitched screamers of yesteryear, lending TNA's material a bit more of a modern sound – but certainly not too modern – giving opener "Rung on the Ladder" a Skid Row vibe but with a stronger vocalist. Better still is track two, "Take You Home," with its searing Poison-style guitar riffs and Motley Crue-drenched lyrics (complete with macho chatter between verses). Consider a line or two from this ditty about stripper lust: "She wants to know ya, she wants to feel ya/She wants to take you any way she can/She's bending over with her hands on my shoulders." "Let Me Down Easy," the album's can't-get-it-out-of-your-head power ballad, comes off like a rich texture of Extreme meets Dokken. In fact, each Finger on the Trigger track takes listeners back to a different band from the era, with similarities ranging from Hurricane, XYZ and Lynch Mob to Winger, Loverboy and even Night Ranger.
These influences are understandable, given the fact that TNA's original incarnation dates back to late-Eighties New York City, and many of these songs have been around in one form or another for about a dozen years – even though all of them are recent versions recorded during the last couple of years. The only real stinker is the closing track, "Bad Girl," whose stale melodies keep this tale about "mama's little girl no more" uncharacteristically flat.
Ardsley, N.Y.-based Kivel Records is slowly making a name for itself by releasing quality metal that brings back those arena-filled, pretty-boy headbanging days. TNA (which, by the way, the band claims stands for "Total Noise Addiction" – not, well, you know) ranks as the label's best project so far. In some other time, some other place, these guys would have ruled the world. If you're old enough to remember how big-haired arena-rock kicked your ass, Finger on the Trigger is a must-own. They don't make 'em like this anymore.