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Released: Aug 5, 2014
Genre: Hard Rock, Heavy Metal
Number Of Tracks: 7
With the attention shifted from formulating nostalgia-laced rockers towards no-holds-barred anthems, we find Skid Row in their finest form since "Subhuman Race."
Rise Of The Damnation Army - United World Rebellion: Chapter Two [EP]Featured review by: UG Team, on august 13, 2014 3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Sound: The current Skid Row lineup, more specifically the band's current lead vocalist Johnny Solinger, has not been without scorching criticism from their dedicated fan base. To the ears of an entire audience of heavy metal fans, an authentic Skid Row cannot exist without original frontman Sebastian Bach at it's helm, and that's an appropriate assumption considering the poor performances found on the band's past two full-length studio albums, 2003's "Thickskin" and 2006's "Revolutions Per Minute." It's difficult enough attempting to introduce a new singer to a well known group defined by the original mainman, let alone when you also implement a different sound heavily based upon alternative rock and post-grunge elements.
While it failed to feature their long awaited reunion with Bach, a strong return to the original Skid Row approach was boasted on the band's 2013 EP, "United World Rebellion: Chapter One," which reinforced the seemingly long forgotten identity of this band. A logical follow-up has recently found it's way to the surface, and while the music falls into familiar territory, the title itself is a mouthful. "Rise of the Damnation Army - United World Rebellion: Chapter Two" boasts seven selections which are less reliant towards the nostalgia factor found on such selections as "This Is Killing Me" from it's predecessor, which seemed to be intentionally crafted as the sequel to "I Remember You," and instead focuses on packing a significant punch.
Such tracks as the opening anthem "We Are The Damned" and the adrenalized "Give It the Gun" are proper hard hitting selections actually worthwhile under the Skid Row name, and even show Solinger tackling some impressive primal screams in the vein of Sebastian Bach. At the very least, Solinger acknowledging that there's no abandoning Bach's distinctive singing style adds that much more character to the performance found here. "Catch Your Fall" is the album's power ballad, however it also incorporates hefty amounts of distorted guitar to provide a driving edge to the song.
"Damnation Army" introduces Accept-esque group vocal harmonies and rebellious lyrical themes, as soaring string bends and crushing percussion propel the listener forward. A few anticipation-captivating guitar chords and bass lines attribute a similar vibe to "Zero Day," which embodies the most gravelling heavy metal identity on the album and also concludes the collection of new material on the effort. Two bonus tracks in the form of cover songs comprise the final two cuts on "Rise of the Damnation Army," and offer strong takes on Aerosmith's "Rats in the Cellar" and Queen's "Sheer Heart Attack." While it's safe to say these recordings don't scream classic Skid Row, they're amongst the best material fans have received from this current lineup. // 7
Lyrics: Johnny Solinger is very much a talented heavy metal lead vocalist, however that alone doesn't justify having him at the front of Skid Row. In the case of pretty much any situation where a pivotal frontman departs from a prestigious band, there will always be those diehard fans who will only listen to Bach-led Skid Row material, but you have to at least acknowledge the path originally paved by your predecessor. For more than a decade, this current lineup almost entirely went off the beaten trail in terms of both musical approach and Solinger's singing style, however on "Rise of the Damnation Army" we finally see a turnaround, which makes for an admirable end product. // 7
Overall Impression: Will Skid Row ever be able to achieve the same success as they did with Sebastian Bach? Most likely they won't, however at least they are releasing new material which sounds heavily reminiscent of their classic sound, as we hear throughout "Rise of the Damnation Army - United World Rebellion: Chapter Two." With the attention shifted from formulating nostalgia-laced rockers to no-holds-barred anthems, we find Skid Row in their finest form since "Subhuman Race." // 7