This took me a while to get round to doing as I was unsure as to what I was going to say, what COULD I say? It's not that it's an album that's going to challenge any preconceptions you have regarding music as a valid artform, but more to do with how do you describe an industrial-grunge album produced by The Dust Brother that a hair-metal singer plays on? I'll give it my best shot. It's probably not gonna be a long blog, mind you...
Released in 1995, it marked a change in direction for Vince Neil, the (at the time) former Motley Crue singer. Booted out of the band in 1992 due to 'creative differences', he then put together a band and recorded his first solo album, 'Exposed' in 1993. From what I've heard, it's your atypical hair-rock and sounded more like Motley Crue than Motley Crue themselves as they'd hired a guy called John Corabi and put out a grunge album. A few hair-metal bands ended up going grunge (or industrial) in a bid to stay relevent with the changing face of the music industry back then (Those who didn't ended up playing to smaller and smaller audiences before disappearing) but it was fucking laughable that these people who'd wear more makeup than any of the tarts on The Only Way Is Essex then take the slap off and try 'getting real' about issues other than whether to say "Dude..." a lot? Just goes to prove that most of the hair-metal bands were pop stars pretending to be rock stars, although I did have a soft spot for Motley Crue, L.A Guns and WASP (Before each band went into a terminal decline).
The album opens with the hypnotic "Breaking In The Gun". To give Vince Neil his due, it's not too bad. A bit unexpected, though. The song is full of what sounds like hip-hop beats while a (processed and looped) guitar riff goes over in the background. Next song is "The Crawl" and is something closer to home. A nice and sleazy rock song! Funky rhythm and nice guitar work (Even though the guitarist - Brent Woods - is inferior to the guitarist on 'Exposed', former Billy Idol band member Steve Stevens). Then we're back into processed beats and guitar territory with "One Way". The best thing about this song is the saxaphone solo. Or it could be a computer that's been programmed to sound like a saxaphone. You cannot tell with this album. "Black Promises" is Vince Neil saying 'Tonight, Matthew, I am going to be Alice In Chains'. It's a good song but totally the wrong band and ESPECIALLY the wrong singer. Surely Jerry Cantrell got some royalties for the riffs on this song??? And the vocals are crap - Vince Neil does not suit this style of music at all. "Skylar's Song" makes it's sacchrin pesence felt soon after. A song about his daughter (Who died of cancer aged four), it is alright...but it's no "Tears In Heaven". "Make U Feel" is back into grunge territory which a riff that sounds VERY familiar to 'Electric Funeral' by Black Sabbath. To be honest, it's not that bad a song as Vince appears to have got decent vocals for it. No lame impressions of a stereptypical grunge singer here! It's possibly my favourite song on the album but only because it sounds like one of my fave bands, which is quite sad, really. "Writing On The Wall" is next and is a similar kind of song - all hard rock but with no glam. Not much of a grunge influence on this one. Guess what territory "Find A Dream" Goes to? Yup, you guessed it...back to industrial territory! If his recollection in Motley Crue autobiography "The Dirt" is anything to go by, then the sessions for this album were quite schitzophrenic as one Dust Brother would go off to smoke a joint, come back and remix whatever the other Dust Brother had just recorded! This shows through as blatant as the sky is blue. "One Less Mouth To Feed" is back to hard rock and it's alright, I guess. The last track "The Rift" goes back into grunge territory but it has some nice vocal harmonies during the chorus.
Well, there you have it. Seems to me they should've just stuck to hard rock as the industrial experiments did not suit Vince Neil at all. His backing band sound like they're struglling with the material that ISN'T hard rock. They're fine on the hard rock but it all goes to shit when they doing the industrial grunge stuff. It's not music that's best suited to the type of personnel of this band and maybe The Dust Brothers would've realised that if they'd been paying attention, what with the producer being the one who gets the best out of the band whilst recording. As much as I hate the man, Bob Rock would've got rid of the shit that didn't work and took it from there. They should've put out the four rock songs and the ballad as an E.P and let The Dust Brothers keep the rest. They're talented guys as proven by the ear-candy production job littered with looping beats and samples but it was WASTED on this project!
Top Track: Make U Feel
2 - If Only There Was Some Quality Control.
Yep, it's on iTunes, if you REALLY have to...