KANE ROBERTS – The New Normal [Japan Edition +1] (2019)
Former Alice Cooper guitarist KANE ROBERTS will release his new solo album, “The New Normal”, on January 25, 2019 via Frontiers Music, tomorrow getting this advanced edition in Japan with a bonus track.
Of the iconic images of ‘80s rock ’n roll, one that has certainly stood the test of time is Alice Cooper’s then “Rambo-looking” guitar player shooting fire from his M-80 shaped guitar. That guitar player is none other than Kane Roberts, an accomplished musician and singer who, after leaving Cooper’s band, went on to record a total of four solo albums, including the excellent ‘Saints And Sinners’.
Kane’s name and musical abilities first came to prominence on Alice Cooper’s “Constrictor” and “Raise Your Fist And Yell” albums. As a solo recording artist, he landed some Top 40 hits and his varied musical background includes recording, writing and touring with artists such as Rod Stewart, Desmond Child, KISS, Diane Warren, Alice in Chains, Guns N’ Roses, and more.
He’s also written or recorded music for films like Light Sleeper, Penelope Spheeris’ Decline of Western Civilization, Friday the 13th IV: Jason Lives, John Carpenter’s Prince of Darkness, and more.
In 1991, his second solo album for Geffen Records, “Saints and Sinners”, was released and included the Top 40 Billboard hit “Does Anybody Really Fall In Love Anymore?”, originally written by Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora.
And of course, includes other superb songs like “Twisted”, which will forever be one of my favourite melodic hard rock songs.
“The New Normal” is Robert’s first album in seven years, and anyone looking for “Saints And Sinners II” can look elsewhere, because this new CD is not the old world at all.
Instead, it’s a very modern sounding rock record. Even further, actually, it’s one that is more than happy to break the rules.
Starting with an arena rocker that the likes of Halestorm would be more than proud of, “King Of The World” with its hookline: “this is my coronation, thank you for the degradation”, is typical in that it hasn’t got the structure you might imagine, the lyrics are more raw than you remember and the whole thing belongs in 2019 – and it’s the best thing here too.
It does need saying, though, that Roberts has always been a brilliant guitar player and that hasn’t left him, but while the solos soar, the likes of “Wonderful” have a dark heart.
Roberts was first seen as Alice Cooper’s guitarist on Raise Your Fist And Yell, and Alice appears as guest on “Beginning Of The End” to prove that he is basically a God amongst men, but this also features Alissa White-Gluz and Babymetal drummer Aoyama Hideki and has a totally different dynamic as result than your typical 80s stuff.
“Who We Are” is a ballad, but one that has more interesting things going on than many, while the gorgeous guitar and electro drum pulse of “Forever Out Of Place” is married with a chorus that basically takes Shinedown’s playbook as its own.
“Leave This World Behind” is built around a fine keyboard riff and a real throb, before opening out into a real proper metal thing, while Lzzy Hale co-writing “The Lions Share” might well give a clue to what that one sounds like – and in some other world 10,000 mobile phone bulbs light the sky where this is played.
Many of these – in truth – sound like the handbrake needs to be released. “Leave Me In The Dark” is a good example, given that it does the quiet verse, loud chorus thing that many here do, while Kane also managed to reunite his former Alice Cooper bandmates Kip Winger, Paul Taylor and Ken Mary on “Above and Beyond” and credit to them for a polished, modern shining piece of work.
The album closer, “Wrong” lurks and sort creeps in the shadows with melodious mid-paced modern feel, and – like the opener – it has a raw side too. “You’re such worthless scum” spits Roberts at one point, and the rest could do with such vitriol.
The Japanese bonus track is a remix of that song, “Wrong (Remix)”, which sounds pretty different, more uptempo as well.
“The New Normal” is a record that needs some listens to fully appreciate, artistically, you imagine, it gave everyone here a thrill. Probably more so than blokes like me writing on about an album that belongs to the last millennium.
While it isn’t the feel-good, melodic hard rock of early Kane Roberts, truth is “The New Normal” results very interesting and compelling, modern, dark, and updated to times.
01. King Of The World
03. Beginning Of The End
04. Who We Are
05. Forever Out Of Place
06. Leave This World Behind
07. The Lion’s Share
08. Leave Me In The Dark
09. Above And Beyond
JAPAN BONUS TRACK:
11. Wrong (Remix)
Vocals – Kane Roberts, Kane, Alice Cooper, Alissa White-Gluz, Katt Franich
Guitars – Kane Roberts, Evan Magness, Nita Strauss
Bass – Kip Winger, Ed Modigliani, Johnny 5, Betty Has Eyes
Keyboards – Scot Lang, Paul Taylor, Alex Track
Drums – Ken Mary, Christopher Tisi, Alex Track
Percussion – Alex Track
BG Vocals – David Balfour, Kip Winger, Kane Roberts, Ken Mary