The Dead Daisies 2015

THE DEAD DAISIES – Revolución

The Dead Daisies - RevolucionThe Dead Daisies are a band that was really close to fall on the wayside with me and there was a big risk that I’d never did listen to them at all. Why? Well, as much as I try to be open-minded when it comes to music, I too have a shallow and narrow-minded side sometimes. See, band-names that I think suck has a tendency to get on my tits and when that happens, I can get really obstinate. My first acquaintance with the band was when they gave away their self-titled debut album to us that subscribe to Classic Rock Magazine and even then I wasn’t sure whether I’d give it a fair shot. But since Slash had decided to guest the album with a guitar solo on the song “Lock ‘n’ Load”, I thought, why not? The album didn’t sound all that bad so I decided to give it a fair chance. Besides, there were some interesting members in the band. They were formed by ex – INXS singer Jon Stevens and guitar player David Lowy, but also featured Guns N’ Roses guitar player Richard Fortus (also ex Thin Lizzy), G N’R keyboard player Dizzy Reed and bass player Marco Mendoza (ex Whitesnake, Blue Murder) that at the time played in Black Star Riders and Thin Lizzy as well and Charley Drayton (The Cult) on drums. But since then there has been a freeway through the band for members to cruise in and out on. Mendoza left for a while to concentrate on Black Star Riders and was replaced by Rolling Stones’ touring bassist Daryl Jones only to decide he wanted to make The Dead Daisies his main priority and left Black Star Riders. Drayton left as well and was replaced by Brian Tichy (Whitesnake, Pride & Glory, Queensrÿche, S.U.N.), but former Testament / Rob Zombie / The Cult drummer John Tempesta has had a short stint in the band as well. Even singer Jon Stevens left the band and was replaced by Bernard Fowler for a while. So there was a lot to be interested in despite the band name – a name that I now have gotten used to and I really don’t think that it’s that bad anymore. The album did surprise me a lot and I still listen to that record a lot – this was really great and groovy hard, yet melodic rock ‘n’ roll. But I had no clue if The Dead Daisies were a real band or just a side project for the guys. But as the line-up has seemed very stable lately with Lowy, Fortus, Tichy, Reed and Mendoza all going all in (even though the drums on this album is played by one Jackie Barnes) and it seems like this band is their main focus now. But what really made me looking forward to a follow-up was when Fowler jumped the ship and the band recruited former The Scream, Motley Crue and Union singer John Corabi (he has also been the singer for acts such as Angora, ESP, Twenty 4 Seven and the guitar player in Brides Of Destruction and Ratt). Corabi has been one of my favourite lead singers ever since I heard The Scream’s debut and only album Let It Scream and he definitely became the pole position runner-up when the fantastic and extremely underrated Motley Crue (1994) came out. This was some great news indeed and I couldn’t wait to sink my teeth into the record. With the Daisies great debut album and Corabi at the mike, expectations were, of course, sky-high, something that isn’t always a good thing.

The first single and video of the album “Mexico” is also the album’s opener and I loved the track instantly. I watched the video that was released prior to the album and even though the song is just a straight forward hard rocker, it has “It” and I want to play it over and over. Didn’t exactly lower the expectations when it was time to listen to the whole record. “Evil” is a cover of Howlin’ Wolf’s old heavy blues track, also done back in 1992 by Dee Snider’s (Twisted Sister) then band Widowmaker. It’s a perfect tune for a heavy rock band to make a cover of as it is almost a heavy metal blues in its original shape. The Dead Daisies makes a killer cover of it and Corabi really sings the hell out of it! “Looking For The One” is clearly single material, a very catchy melodic rock song with an addictive beat. “Empty Heart” has one of those choruses that hit-makers could sell their mothers for. The tune itself is a little rock pearl with both edge and rawness. They go all pop-metal on us in “Make The Best Of It”, catchy as hell on a rock foundation, this is both single material and a future live killer. The first ballad on the album is called “Something I Said”, but it is completely cheeseless. It has more to do with The Rolling Stones in  the early 70’s than a power ballad per se. But it’s very memorable and an awesome song. The guys get the funk in “Get Up, Get Ready”, think Deep Purple’s Come Taste The Band (1976) and you’re pretty close. The song really swings like crazy. “With You And I” is a slower rocker, but still with a major groove and some funky guitars on top – bloody brilliant! Both Corabi’s and Fortus’ and Reed’s day jobs shows up in the grand ballad “Sleep”. There are nods to both Guns N’ Roses’ “November Rain” and Motley Crue’s “Misunderstood” in it, but with a big Beatles influence and lots of Queen. It’s a fantastic song! I hear a whole lot of Deep Purple – around Fireball (1971) – in “My Time” in my thoughts are drawn to songs like “No One Came” and “The Mule” – how awesome! And there are more Purple to come our way. No one can deny the big Purple influence in “Midnight Moses”, a groovy as hell  killer with a striking hot Hammond that goes straight for the heart. Led Zeppelin stops by for a drink in the straight forward 70’s rocker “Devil Out Of Time” and I can’t help loving that even though the influence is quite obvious. The least striking song is the finishing “Critical”. Without being bad – it’s a good enough rocker – the tune isn’t really that special.

But that doesn’t matter at all because The Dead Daisies has made one hell of a record here and for anyone who dug the debut will love this one even more. I even think that people who didn’t like the first one will love this one. But if it doesn’t scream WINNER! at you right away, try giving it another spin because even though I really dug it the first time, it’s a grower – a fast grower. So even though their debut was great, this one is even better and the addition of John Corabi has done them good. I really liked Stevens, but his voice did have some mainstream tendencies whereas Corabi’s voice is raw, dirty and aggressive, but he can also be melodic and soft without losing his edge – so yes, Corabi really owns this album. But it’s not just Corabi that makes this album so good, the different influences and especially the 70’s ones together with the great guitar work, the swinging and tight rhythm section and Reed’s keyboards that more than often takes a Hammond way are all pivotal for making this album a runner-up for the album of the year. I know, I have written that in many reviews so far, but what can I do when the quality is so high? The production is also faultless – it has both bite, aggression and rawness but does never ever sound rushed or like some kind of demo. This is a ROCK album and it really do rocks – hard and melodic. Don’t miss!
Jon Wilmenius (9/10)

Tracklist:

1. Mexico
2. Evil
3. Looking For The One
4. Empty Heart
5. Make The Best Of It
6. Something I Said
7. Get Up, Get Ready
8. With You And I
9. Sleep
10. My Time
11. Midnight Moses
12. Devil Out Of Time
13. Critical

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