Skid Row “United World Rebellion” and “Rise Of The Damnation Army”
Skid Row are one who amongst all the odds have managed to survive all that the rock n roll world has had to throw at them. Given they were first presented to the world as yet another ‘hair band’ (which was always highly inaccurate) when they hit the scene, many will be surprised to hear that they are still recording music. There most recent releases perhaps provides a good indication as to why they have survived. Not only have they maintained a high level of quality but they are also still looking to try something different. In this case, rather than releasing a new album they are actually delivering three Eps over the year. It’s a neat idea which gives the fans plenty of new music but also builds up some anticipation. So far, two of the Eps have been released:
United World Rebellion
Opening track, “Kings Of Demolition” will be immediately loved by Skid Row fans, both old and new. It’s actually a perfect combination of the commercial rock of their debut and the added grit they showed on Slave To The Grind. That mixture, arguably just means it is the band at their best and it is a formula also achieved on the track “Stitches”.
Then on “Let’s Go” and “Get Up” we see the band’s punk influence really coming to the fore. This is an influence which was kind of missed ‘back in the day’ but anyone who has seen bassist Rachel Bolan would have been able to see that they were always a band with more in common with the punk rather than pop market.
A Skid Row album wouldn’t be a Skid Row album without some form of a ballad. On this, it comes in the shape of “This Is Killing Me”. Importantly, it is another example of the bands ability to deliver a slower song that is built on emotion without getting slushy.
There are also a couple of covers on the album including the unusual choice of EZO’s “Fire Fire” and the Judas Priest song, “Unlimited”. The second of which, in the hands of this band is simply a huge, anthemic rock song
Chapter Two “Rise Of The Damnation Army”
Takes no prisoners with the opener “We Are the Damned” seeing the band at their aggressive best and is very Slave To The Grind esque. Whilst “Give It The Gun” is a straight up hard rocking song seemingly built to create a mosh pit of hair on the rock club’s dance floor.
We go back to ballad territory on “Catch Your Fall” and again it’s about the quality of the writing. In contrast, “Damnation Army” sees that Bolan punk influence coming back loud and strong. Not surprisingly, it has an absolutely huge bass rumble. That punk rock sound is also there on Queen cover “Sheer Heart Attack” which becomes a nice mix of humour and almost Ramonesy feel.
This latest release then ends with a cover of the classic Aerosmith song “Rats In The Cellar”. This is a great, sleazed up and harder version which, like many of the songs on both these albums, benefits from the great guitar work of Dave ‘the snake’ Sabo.
The fans that stood by this band will absolutely love both these releases. Those who may have forgotten Skid Row or ‘moved on’ also really need to give this a listen. Yeah it will possibly be to partly relive those great days of youth (gone wild!!) but it will also serve as a very timely reminder how good it can be to listen to great hard rock music. It will certainly leave you thinking, bring on the next instalment.