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Flawed - 45%

Innersfree, May 3rd, 2012

Who dissolves a band just to have it put together a year after? I guess on the bright side there really wasn't the schmaltz of a protracted reunion. This was pretty much a hands on deck comeback. The band has also hopped on the bandwagon of putting up all of these songs for streaming, which of course is no terrible bandwagon to actually jump ship to, if you choose to do so. Well, is it reflective of an undying commitment to their fanbase or just another ploy to stay relevant in times when the band's image is waning and waning fast? If this record is even a minor indication, it really is more of the latter. Though the utter lack of inspiration on this even renders that a rather half-assed attempt.

No, this isn't a sellout. Not entirely anyway. All of these songs are crafted almost entirely with the fans in mind, you know, the kind who'd like something to sing along to with his beer. Of course, a lot of music would be relatable in that aspect, it's just that this is so utterly devoid of creativity and energy on every possible level that it pretty much only serves that function. You'd never hear this and be surprised, not in the least. Every single moment on the album is utterly predictable after it sets in. You hear the intro, it's almost always something good or at least decent. And then it settles into this mid-paced groove that just grates and grates on. And what is really up with Rolf? The vocals on here are insipid, lacking any character whatsoever, and sometimes border on a 3rd grade Blaze Bayley rip-off, which begs the question, why revive the band at all if all you want to do is break even on every possible aspect of its sound? Hard times with the dole, I guess.

I understand Rolf's going a lot more for British Steel here than Painkiller, it's just that the character is missing completely. And there's nothing to cut in with that monotony, either. 'Me & The Boys' is a lot like 'United', if 'United' wasn't just 3 minutes long and was trying real real hard to sound like something you'd hear for a singalong at a tavern. It's weak, with nothing in the way of histrionics, just stark incompetence that almost feels painfully self-conscious on listening. There's also a rather sad attempt at redemption tacked on towards the end in the form of the "epic" 'Dracula'. Well, lets just say what takes a whole 7 minutes to get through could very easily have been accomplished in...4, and the only thing it actually accomplishes is to heighten the ever-increasing annoyance with the plodding nature of the whole album itself. The relief, of course, being that it does end, and the band were honest enough not to take a stab at making this their magnum opus of sorts.

And lastly, two songs with the word "shadow" in them? Now we all get "black" or "dark", and that too can be incredibly contrived. But two? Yeah, this just doesn't get anything of any significance at all. The Jolly Roger's in tatters.