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Pretty damn awkward. Totally uninspired. - 46%

Nightcrawler, September 27th, 2004

The follow-up to the classic rocker debut album of Skid Row was quite a disappointment. Definitely more metal in approach and music, but far less inspired. The songs mostly have quite the same vibe as the debut. Opening track "Monkey Business" for example sounds like any "Big Guns" or "Sweet Little Sister" only about ten times heavier than these. Though "Monkey Business" is a damn good song.

But the majority of the songs on here are insanely boring, and it seems that either they tried too hard or they weren't trying at all. Whatever the case is, in here it seems that they've gotten themselves a more socially aware approach, trying to make a more intelligent and political record, and failing quite badly.
But I'll start out with the highlights. Previously mentioned album opener is pretty groovy, with some nice slower groovy parts here and there and catchy gang vocals on the chorus. Also, the short and punchy "Get The Fuck Out" is pretty damn fun, despite the kinda silly lyrics.
The rebellious "Riot Act" is alright too, as is the catchy, defiant songs "The Threat" and "Living On A Chain Gang". But of course, there's one absolute highlight.
"I won't be the one left behind - You can't be king of the world if you're slave to the grind!" Yes, fuckers, this song is every bit as good as you've been told, probably a bit better. It's sickeningly catchy and memorable, and SO FUCKING HEAVY! Total headbanging-madness inducing main riff, and coupled with that powerful chorus and a strong vocal performance by Sebastian Bach, we have here probably the best Skid Row song with him on vocals.

That's six good songs out of 12. Half the album is tolerable. The other half? Urgh. We have two hideous ballads, "Quicksand Jesus" and "In A Darkened Room". Once I was really drunk and listening to "Quicksand Jesus" and I was feeling rather deep, sitting there and thinking "hey, this is pretty good." I decided to give it another chance the morning after, when I was more sober, and then it suddenly sucked again. Yeah, this band shouldn't try to do deep ballads with a meaning.

Then there are the extremely boring rockers that plague the album, that try to be more introspective or whatever than the debut but come off as damn uninspired and hollow, with no feeling or inspiration in it, which definitely wasn't a problem on Skid Row's first album. Nothing memorable whatsoever about mediocre heavy metal tracks like "Psycho Love", "Creepshow" or "Mudkicker", they're all completely unremarkable and most of the time quite worthless.
This album may be pretty fucking heavy, but half of it lacks any good songwriting skill to complement the new found crushing guitar work.

Oh yeah, I almost forget. The album closer "Wasted Time" is also a ballad, and unlike the other two this one's pretty good at times. Very nice guitar melodies on the verses, pretty unusual, and a very powerful pre-chorus and chorus segment part also stands out. Good stuff.

Yeah, half of this album completely lacks any sort of credibility, honesty and feeling in the songwriting. And even the good tunes like "The Threat", "Living On A Chain Gang" or "Riot Act" are quite well below the average song on the debut. Though of course, the monstrous title track rises well above them all. What the fuck is that piece of speed metal doing on this piece of crap?