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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Black ‘n’ Blue – Hell Yeah album review

Black ‘n’ Blue – Hell Yeah album review
Released on: Frontiers Records. Release date: Available now

Black 'n' Blue started in the early 80's amid all the sleaze / glam and hard rock acts developing on the scene, such as Motley Crue, Ratt, L.A. Guns, Slaughter, White Lion, Twisted Sister, Metallica and even Great White as well as so many more at the time, that the market was all of a sudden flooded with new bands, it was tough to keep up with. For me consequently, I maybe heard a track or two here and there, from each one, but with the scene in the UK cranking up too, with our own homegrown talent, not to mention numerous other European and Canadian mainstream rock acts, it meant to many rock fans, you had to pick and choose which ones, you were serious about keeping track of.

Sadly then, in all honesty Black 'n' Blue at that time, dropped off my radar, possibly a lot of other peoples also, based on the lack of any real great success back in the day. Sorry guys …

The band did get signed to Geffen for their self-titled debut album, back in ’84 and went on to release three more studio albums, in ‘Without Love,’ Nasty, Nasty’ and ‘In Heat.’ The latter two being produced by Gene Simmons (Kiss), but still any real success eluded the band and they called it a day in ‘89.

There were also two live albums released, ‘One Night Only’ in ’98 and ‘Live in Detroit – 1984’ (2002).

Possibly the most likely information on the band, that many rock fans will be aware of is that Tommy Thayer joined Kiss as Ace Frehley’s replacement in the band, apparently – Although not credited. – playing on ‘98’s ‘Psycho Circus’ before officially being announced in 2002.

Lead vocalist Jaime St. James, replaced Jani Lane in Warrant in 2004 through 2008, recording one studio album with them, 2006’s ‘Born Again.’

Black ‘n’ Blue reunited – Minus Tommy Thayer of course! - in 2003 for a tour and new album … Turned out to be this album in fact, which the release date of, has obviously been pushed back and back as it only now finally available to everyone.

So, what of this new opus then?
Well, first of all I have to be honest and this is possibly for the same reason as before, when I first listened to this, it really wasn’t grabbing me, bar the opening two tracks, but the rest of it has since grown on me.
I recommend the same to you folks, give it a chance!

Opening with a hard rocking prime slice in ‘Monkey’ which takes no prisoners, no messing!

Second track ‘Target’ has perhaps a more commercial hard rockin’ edge, which I’m serious if this was covered by Kiss and released as a single it would probably be a smash! It sounds very much like something not unlike a commercial Kiss number, likewise if another mainstream act covered this, I’d guarantee it would be a hit. Very catchy stuff indeed!
‘Hail, Hail’ up next is a traditional mid paced sleaze rocker, with an almost AC/DC vibe but then that you could easily associate with say even Twisted Sister, who knew how to write a few hits back in their prime time. Very tasty guitar solo too.
In ‘Fools Bleed’ next, wow! This could be Def Leppard! I kid you not, it’s huge! OK, so maybe the vocals as Jaime doesn’t sound like Joe Elliott, but musically this is an absolute winner, in a similar kind of way to say ‘Gods of War.’

‘C’mon’ keeps the train on exactly the same track and sure it’s sleaze edged but this album has so many hooks, it’s great!
I really don’t understand why I didn’t get it right away, but there you go?!

Then we get to ‘Jaime’s Got the Beer’ and I kind of remember why ... OK, it’s just meant to be a laugh maybe, but it’s just a drunken type pub song.
‘Angry Drunk S.O.B.’ isn’t the greatest here, that’s for sure and Beastie Boys come to mind … Enough said!

‘So Long’ up next rocks a little like an AC/DC rockin’ groove, perhaps with that sleazy edge, very catchy contagious riff to it.
Slight breather for the guys next with ‘Trippin’’ which is a brief – Less than a minute – acoustic piece.

Back on track with ‘Falling Down’ which starts acoustically and then it kicks in, with a nice melodic vibe to it. Fairly steady semi-rock ballad style number initially that then picks up in the second half. Love it!
‘Candy’ is a good mid-paced steady rocker, that perhaps Jaime had a Warrant moment when he was putting this together! Nice guitar work!
Ah, now title track ‘Hell Yeah’ will have everyone saying, come on guys that opening riff – That carries on throughout – has been done so many times by AC/DC, Saxon, Ted Nugent, not to mention a hundred or more others along the way. You’ll love it folks!

Final official number here, ‘World Goes Round’ kind of sounds unlike most thing on here and has an almost Indie type feel to it. It’s still catchy, but a little different kind of vibe. It’s ok …

There’s one more, a hidden track in ‘A Tribute to Hawking (Stephen Hawking)’ which, well it’s about a minute long acoustic semi-version of ‘Hail, Hail’ again, in a Stephen Hawking style voice over …! Hmmm … I guess whatever floats your boat, right?
So, generally speaking this album has grown on me and yes, there’s still some area’s where I’m not really into it, but the general overall feel for me is I like what I’m hearing from Black ‘n’ Blue, more than I did back in the day … Maybe I need to rediscover the bands background?!
Rating: 3.75 out of 5

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