Sound — 8
Ugly Kid Joe are a renowned hard rock band, who first found international fame in the early '90s with a pair of multi-platinum albums, "America's Least Wanted" and "Menace To Sobriety". Their crunching rock sound easily appealed to hard rock and hair metal fans, with such notable hits as "Neighbor" and their cover of Harry Chapin's "Cat's In The Cradle". At the height of their popularity, the band split up in 1997, and for 13 long years fans waited for a reunion. Finally in 2010, Ugly Kid Joe finally got back together, and have just released a disc of new studio material; their first in nearly two decades. The EP, titled "Stairway To Hell", is a collection of 6 new hard hitting compositions, which shows Ugly Kid Joe not only making a powerful comeback but coming back better than ever. The album comes off with "Devil's Paradise", which showcases some unignorable AC/DC elements while also soaked in the band's signature sound. "You Make Me Sick" is a more traditional Ugly Kid Joe anthem, that sounds like something you'd expect off their 2nd studio album. From there, you have such standout tracks as the pulsating riff rocker "I'm Alright", and the acoustic ballad "Another Beer", all of which show the band doing exactly what they do best. All in all, it's a great return-to-form for Ugly Kid Joe, that leaves little more to be desired.
Lyrics — 9
Lead vocalist Whitfield Crane gives a standout performance throughout this new EP. He sounds just as he did back on the band's earlier efforts, which helps the entire album transition with ease. He does a great Bon Scott impression on the opening track, "Devil's Paradise", that when backed by the expansive guitar work and catching riffs makes for an instant classic.
Overall Impression — 9
Overall, "Stairway To Hell" is a consistently thrilling comeback for Ugly Kid Joe, that shows the band not just pressing more stereotypical classics, but also moving into ever expansive territory. Any established fan, whether casual or die hard, should look into picking this album up for themselves. The chemistry flows so well throughout this new release, it's as though they never left, and hopefully these sessions will lead up to a new full-length album from the hair metal icons.