It has been roughly seven years since Skid Row released their last album but the wait is officially over with the April 16th street date of their new EP “United World Rebellion, Chapter 1” on Megaforce Records. The band is planning to release the second EP in six months and third EP of the series six months after that and if this five song offering is any indication, the classic Skid Row sound is back. The best news is that songs are all cohesive sonically and don’t sound like they are reaching to adapt to the times or forcing themselves to “grow”. In fact, the first song, “Kings Of Demolition” literally sounds like it could have been written or recorded during the Slave To The Grind administration. After more than a decade of singing both new and classic era Skids songs, Johnny Solinger doesn’t need a manual or studio trickery to do his job and the opening track, more than any other song, proves this. My other favorite track here is “Stitches” which is anchored by a great Rachel Bolan bass lick and a “Piece Of Me” feel. I really, really tried to find a song out of the 5 to criticize and the ballad “This Is Killing Me” took 4 or 5 listens for me to warm up to. The verse guitar licks and Johnny’s vocals eventually wore me down and I now love it as much as the other 4 songs. Honestly, I liked the first Solinger album “Thickskin” and think “Ghost” is one of Skid Row’s best songs but I really believe the band has needed this time to gel, play live and re-focus. It is, of course, only my opinion but I don’t feel the least bit disingenuous saying that “United World Rebellion, Chapter 1” feels more like a successor to “Slave To The Grind” than “Subhuman Race” or “Thickskin” does. Like “Slave” this album grooves with songs like “Let’s Go” and “Get Up” which are simplistic enough to kick you in the teeth but well-written enough to become live set staples. The twin guitar attack of Snake Sabo and secret weapon psycho Scotti Hill hasn’t been sharper, the rumble of Rachel’s bass has never been louder and drummer Rob Hammersmith flat out kicks ass on his fills. Anyone who has seen Johnny and the guys live knows that it’s evident they are having fun and getting along and this recording, more than any other in the “Johnny era” reflects that. I can’t wait to have all three “Rebellions”, preferably on vinyl.
* * * * Four Stars
Read our latest interview with Rachel Bolan, here.
To pre-order “United World Rebellion, Chapter one on Amazon CLICK HERE!