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| 13 October 2015 | Reply


Label: Spinefarm Records

Release Date: October 9, 2015

Rating: 9/10

Reviewed by: Todd “Toddstar” Jolicoeur

Some 80’s rockers have stayed the course and true to their roots and sound.  Michael Monroe has done just that over the years, and his latest release, Blackout States is a killer reminder of where he has been, but also a great indicator of where he is headed.  Disc opener “This Ain’t No Love Song” delivers a punk sensibility to the disc and the sets the pace for the rest of the tracks to follow.  The guitars are frantic and the rhythm section adds punch to the song.  “Old King’s Road” gives Monroe’s voice room to run and deliver the gritty rock ‘n’ punk mixture we have come to love and expect.  The guitars pony up some great riffs and solos during the bridge breakdowns.  “Keep Your Eye On You” is a cool rocker that has a bluesy groove woven through it, especially in Monroe’s vocals.  The guitar work from Rich Jones and Steve Conte, while a bit simpler than other tracks, is perfect for the mood of this tune.  “Good Old Bad Days” opens with cool riffs and soon the vocals permeate the track, but the real star on this song is the timekeeping prowess of Karl Rockfist on drums.  Another added bonus on this tune is the cool sax-contribution from Michael himself.  Title track “Blackout States” is a cool rock/blues track that tosses in a bit of attitude to complete a musical trifecta.  The vocals shine on this track and add a bit of depth to the chorus.  “Permanent Youth” is a different track that shows Monroe’s vocals in a different light and keeps the band from running away with the track musically.  “Six Feet In The Ground” has a slight twang to it that adds a different feel to the track and disc even while Sami Yaffa’s bass pounds away in the background, giving weight to the bottom end.

“Goin’ Down With The Ship” is a heavier track, in that it focuses more on a rock aspect musically and brings deeper lyrics.  The vibe of this track, while different from the other songs on this collection, fits the groove of the disc.  “The Bastard’s Bash” dials up the attitude and energy, giving the disc a quick injection of attitude that adds to the arsenal of rockers in Monroe’s catalog that should go over well in a live situation.  If you are looking for a piss-and-vinegar approach to music, look no further than “R.L.F.”  The lyrics are a kick in the teeth only matched by the riffs, the drums, and the pounding bass lines.  “Under The Northern Lights” features a great blend of guitars, vocals, bass, and attitude.  The songs strength is its simple approach to rock and it delivers on every level.  “Dead Hearts On Denmark Street” keeps the disc flowing with a heavy bottom end courtesy of Rockfist and Yaffa, while the chugging riffs of Conte and Jones give the vocals direction.  Disc closer “Walk Away” takes us out with the same attitude and swagger of the opening track.  The vocals standout on this track at the chorus, but the swirl of guitars, bass, and drums gives this disc more bite and attitude that keep the disc on repeat!

​​​​​Tracklisting: This Ain’t No Love Song – Old King’s Road – Goin’ Down With The Ship – Keep Your Eye On You – The Bastard’s Bash – Good Old Bad Days – R.L.F. – Blackout States – Under The Northern Lights – Permanent Youth – Dead Hearts On Denmark Street – Six Feet In The Ground – Walk Away






Category: CD Reviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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