Everyone who have been following this site must know that I’m a huge fan of The Dead Daisies, a band I more or less tumbled upon five years ago. The band’s brand of Classic Rock and Hard Rock shot straight at my heart and already by second album Revolución (2015) I was hooked. But that they would knock me so off my rocker like they did with 2016’s Make Some Noise was something I hadn’t expected. I gave it a 10/10 without hesitation and that opinion still stands. However, opinions of that album have been mixed both from critics and fans and that is applied to both the band’s previous albums as well. I guess The Dead Daisies aren’t for everyone. As the band started out pretty much a project that didn’t really have a steady line-up except for guitarist David Lowy who formed the band, the line-up has been stable for a few years now and the line-up that toured Revolución and later recorded Make Some Noise really seemed like the one that would take The Dead Daisies to the next level.
John Corabi (The Scream, Motley Crue, Union) joined for the second album, bassist Marco Mendoza (Whitesnake, Blue Murder, Thin Lizzy, Black Star Riders) was there for the debut and guitarist Doug Aldrich (Revolution Saints, Whitensake, Dio, Lion, Bad Moon Rising, Hurricane) came in to replace Richard Fortus who decided to commit fully to Guns N’Roses in 2016 before the recording of the last record. On drums was Brian Tichy (S.U.N., Whitesnake, Pride & Glory, Sweet & Lynch and a million others) but he unexpectedly jumped the ship last year and was replaced by Deen Castronovo (Revolution Saints, Journey, Bad English, Hardline) and maybe, just maybe we now have the final line-up for this band. With two albums in a row that totally floored me, my expectations on this record have sky-rocketed and everything below “great” will make this record a failure in my book. So let’s see if the band could rise to the occasion once again.
“Resurrected” kicks the album off and it stands clear pretty fast that it’s a heavier Daisies that we’ll get on this record. It’s a song that grabs you by the throat and kicks you when you’re down. It’s upbeat, heavy and in your face with a big punch. Corabi has borrowed a melody line from his old “Power To The Music” (Motley Crue) for the tune’s verse but not so much that Sixx & co deserves a co-write credit. It’s rough but still with melodies that stick. It’s an awesome song and a brilliant way to start the record. The heaviness continue with “Rise Up”, a tough and dynamic bust belter with a fat groove that shows that Mendoza and Castronovo are really a rhythm section from heaven. The 70’s footprints are all over the track and the memorable melody brings the tune home. A killer! The title track is slower and bluesier with a meaty and earthy ground to stand upon. Powerful and robust the tune creates a bad-ass groove and the ending jam feels very spontaneous. There’s simply nothing to not love about this track. Brilliant!
The big groove continues with “Judgement Day” (hasn’t that title been used to death by now?). It starts acoustically and stripped in a bluesy mood, something they go back to in the verses but as soon the the refrain picks up the tune gets heavy and raunchy and the rhythm punches the living daylight of the listener. The Zeppelin influence might be a bit too obvious here but I really don’t give a rat. A great, classic rock tune that sticks without being the least radio-friendly. The guys throw in some more Zep influences for “What Goes Around”, a ballsy Hard Rock tune that kicks and bites and roughs things up in a heavy way. The chorus kicks up some dust for sure and is catchy and distinct which makes it stick from go. The Daisies are known for doing covers, lots of them actually, so that this album would include one of them wasn’t exactly surprising and this record’s cover is of The Rolling Stones’ “Bitch”, a tune that has been living in the shadows for way too long.
When the Daisies does a cover, they make sure to make tune their own and this one is no different. If you know the original you will hear that this is the Stones tune, but this could might as well be a Daisies original, it differs that much. No matter how much I love the original – which I do – that’s a good thing. It holds a different groove, some arrangements are changed, it’s punchy, heavy and aggressive with a straight-forward drive. And it kicks major ass! They didn’t just Daisy it up, the friggin’ nailed the damned thing and I wonder if even ole Keef wouldn’t give it his thumbs up. Awesome! After all that rocking, it’s ballad time. But if you hope for a soft power ballad with a hit-friendly refrain you’re bound for disappointment. “Set Me Free” is a slow, bluesy, 70’s sounding tune – very emotional, atmospheric and dynamic. The tune really grabs a hold on me and the hairs on my body stands up straight. Musically, this is Rolling Stones, Aerosmith and Led Zeppelin rolled into one. Very basic!
“Dead And Gone” is reminiscent of the sound of the last album. The Aerosmith influence is all over the track and the red-hot infectious groove makes this Classic Rock stomper impossible to stand still to. Infectious is also its chorus, the kind that makes you wanna yell along even if you don’t know the words, catchy doesn’t even begin to describe it. So awesome! “Can’t Take It With You” is a hard-hitting, ferocious, attitude-laden hard rocker that sports a whole bunch of crunchy guitars, a tough beat and it both gives you the finger and punches you in the gut but still with enough catchiness to make it stick. The closing track – if you don’t get the digipack edition – is called “Leave Me Alone”, a heavy, rough and upbeat and attitude-laden rocker that kicks up some major dust – to end a record with a punch in the jaw is definitely a good thing. When you get back up after this KO you just want to get back into the album and get knocked out all over again.
Yes, the digi-pack. It includes a cover of The Beatles’ “Revolution”, a tune that’s pretty much Hard Rock in its original form when it was released back in 1968. Again, the band Daisied it up – it’s heavier, kicking and ballsy and I think it’s a great cover and perfect for a band like this. Would I go for the digi-pack? You bet! So there you have it. I’m pretty sure that this album will receive as mixed opinions as all of their albums – The Dead Daisies aren’t here to reinvent the wheel, they’re here to play some good-time, classic Rock ‘n’ Roll and when you’re not doing anything new, that’s the reaction you will get by some. Me, I love this band and I couldn’t care less whether they wear their influences on their sleeves as long as the write killer tunes and perform them well. Maybe they should have used a brilliant voice like Castronovo’s more on the album but as a lead singer, Corabi’s voice is a better fit for this kind of music, in my opinion. Sound wise, this album takes on a heavier and more gritty and stripped sound than their earlier albums, even though it doesn’t differ that much. I still hold Make Some Noise as my fave Daisies album because it’s more direct and hook-laden but this is still a solid release without any weak moments at all. Fan-bloody-tastic!
Other The Dead Daisies reviews:
2. Rise Up
3. Burn It Down
4. Judgement Day
5. What Goes Around
7. Set Me Free
8. Dead And Gone
9. Can’t Take It With You
10. Leave Me Alone
11. Revolution (Bonus Track for digi-pack)