MICHAEL MONROE – Blackout States [retail] (2015)
Former Hanoi Rocks frontman MICHAEL MONROE is releasing his new studio album “Blackout States” today October 9 via Spinefarm Records.
Produced by Chips Kiesbye (Hellacopters) in Gothenburg, Sweden, and mixed by Petri Majuri in Helsinki, Finland, Michael Monroe has created another fine example of what makes him, and his band, sound so great.
Monroe’s current touring and recording outfit — comprised of bassist Sami Yaffa (ex-Hanoi Rocks, New York Dolls), guitarist Steve Conte (ex-New York Dolls, Company Of Wolves), guitarist Rich Jones (ex-Black Halos), and drummer Karl Rockfist (ex-Danzig) — provided strong creative support for this once groundbreaking artist whose reputation continues to flourish.
Many of Rock’s most noted performers (including Axl Rose & Slash) have cited Monroe’s unwavering drive and three-decade-plus career as a genuine source of inspiration.
“Blackout States” sees Monroe both toasting the future and honoring the past, occasionally giving the nod to pioneers Hanoi Rocks, the group with which he forged his name in the early-to mid-’80s.
“This Ain’t No Love Song” opens the album fast and furious, it certainly is not a love song and it sure starts the record with the greatness of the Michael Monroe band, which feels oiled and tight. Love the crunching wicked backing vocals.
“Old King’s Road” is the single and I can see why: it’s a catchy, short and easy rocker, followed by “Goin’ Down With The Ship”, a classic Monroe song that will please Hanoi Rocks fans.
More of this can be found on “Keep Your Eye On You” and the melodic “Good Old Bad Days”, a mid-tempo including a clever saxophone utilized in a rocking context.
“R.L.F.” is a two-minute angry punkish rocker including classic Monroe harmonica too, “Under The Northern Lights” is a fun hard rocker (I hear some bagpipes in the background), then the melodic rocker “Permanent Youth” (a highlight) offers again lots of harmonies.
Title track “Blackout States” must be the more elaborated song on the record (and the longest; 4:07 minutes) and also one of the more melodic. Monroe shows here he still has all the swagger of his younger days and the ability to build some memorable melodies into a song. This melodic rocker is a clear proof of that.
Additional catchiness is heard on the fun “Six Feet in the Ground” a bass-pumped rocker which makes your foot tap again and again via the great chorus, then the guys end the CD kicking your arse with the anthemic hard rocker “Walk Away” (very Hanoi Rocks btw).
Honestly, Michael Monroe has surprised me with “Blackout States”. I was not expecting an album of this catchiness and solid songwriting.
This one blows out of the water the (in my opinion) weak previous record 2013’s ‘Horns And Halos’. All songs here are infectious, with hot playing (the band sounds fantastic) and sticky as hell choruses.
“Blackout States” is a must for Monroe / Hanoi Rocks fans, and a highly recommended listen to all melodic hard rock aficionados.
01. This Ain’t No Love Song
02. Old King’s Road
03. Goin’ Down With The Ship
04. Keep Your Eye On You
05. The Bastard’s Bash
06. Good Old Bad Days
08. Blackout States
09. Under The Northern Lights
10. Permanent Youth
11. Dead Hearts On Denmark Street
12. Six Feet In The Ground
13. Walk Away
Michael Monroe – Vocals
Sami Yaffa (ex-Hanoi Rocks, New York Dolls) – Bass
Steve Conte (ex-New York Dolls, Company Of Wolves) – Guitars
Rich Jones (ex-Black Halos) – Guitars
Karl Rockfist (ex-Danzig) – Drums
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