Thursday, 30 May 2013

Skid Row's 'United World Rebellion - Chapter One' - EP Review

Skid Row have been around for a number of years now and, along with bands like Guns N' Roses and Cinderella, rose out of the end of the hair metal years in the 1980s with serious credibility and brought a certain rawness back to the scene. While they have never been too prolific, they have maintained a strong and loyal fanbase through endless touring and remain a great live act to this day. The band's new EP United World Rebellion - Chapter One, the first in a series of three, is their first release since Revolutions per Minute in 2006 and the third with long-time frontman Johnny Solinger. While some fans might be disappointed that after seven years the band could only muster up enough material for a short EP (although, being the first in a series of three, that clearly is not true), this is certainly a case of quality over quantity. Every track here is stellar, there is no filler, and the raw and heavy production makes this a great listen. The now well-honed writing partnership between bassist Rachel Bolan and guitarist Dave 'Snake' Sabo has produced more excellent songs that sit just as well beside newer material like New Generation as they do beside classics like Big Guns. Also, this is the first release by the band to feature drummer Rob Hammersmith who has been playing with the band since 2010.

Things get started with the anthemic Kings of Demolition which recalls the best of Skid Row of old. They have been playing this one live for a little while now and it has been going down a storm. The simple and heavy riff drives the song and lyrics that talk of rebellion and retribution are stiring if a little cliché. The song features a trademark big chorus with plenty of backing vocals and lines you can easily sing. Up next is the furious Let's Go, which for me is the best song of the bunch. It is a short, punchy track that never lets up throughout it's duration. Again, the guitar riffs are simple but both Sabo and Scotti Hill here demonstrate that things do not have to be complicated or fancy to be good - in fact quite the oppostite. Another great chorus gets the blood pumping and there is a fast yet melodic guitar solo which is just the icing on the cake of a great track. This is Killing Me gives you a mid-EP break from all the furious rocking with an acoustic-driven ballad that is straight out of the 1980s. Solinger really shines here and shows great range - he can be heartfelt as well as a ball of fury. Another really strong song that would have filled arenas years ago. Get Up follows and, if there is a weak song on the EP, then this is it. However, it is still an enjoyable tune with another simple riff and a fist-pumping chorus complete with gang vocals. Things are rounded up with Stitches. This is another 1980s-style glam anthem with pounding drums and angsty lyrics. It really rocks and ensures that the EP ends in style and whets our appetites for the other two EPs in the trilogy yet to come. Overall, this release is a triumph and will hopefully really put Skid Row back on the map.

The EP was released on 27th May 2013 via UDR GmbH. Below is the band's promotional lyric video for Kings of Demolition.

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