L.A. GUNS – The Devil You Know [Japan Edition +1] (2019)

L.A. GUNS - The Devil You Know [Japan Edition +1] (2019) full

Less than two years since the release of The Missing Peace — the first L.A. GUNS album since 2002 to feature founding guitarist Tracii Guns and vocalist Phil Lewis — the group will issue a follow-up effort, “The Devil You Know”, on March 29 via Frontiers Music. This Japanese edition is being released today, including a pretty killer bonus track.

They open the new CD with “Rage”, and it’s exactly that. Gritty and absolutely ready to bring a knife to a gunfight, “you got the f@cking brains of a dead man” spits Lewis, and he just might be raising a middle finger to all the doubters.
“Stay Away” could only come from the minds of this band. It bottles the sound, it really does, and they are still cocked and loaded.
“Loaded Bomb”, likewise, shows that other bands might do sleazy, but no one does it quite like this – or this well. “You can’t play the victim,” offers Lewis here, “when you’re always playing sides” and he does so over some genuinely filthy sounding piano, as they look to expand things on this record.

The title cut is slower, more deliberate, but has a crunch in its crosshair, while “Going High” which anchors itself on a mighty groove likes the idea so much it rather repeats the dose in truth and “Gone Honey” hides a real menace in its radio friendly flavor – and the fact it rhymes with “been gone” with “cling on” is much fun.
On a record with no weak points at all, there is something gleeful about “Don’t Need To Win” that suggests that they’ve got a hand with four aces.

It is a quirk of this record that nothing is too short here. Most are over four minutes, as if there was no shortage of ideas, “Another Season In Hell” clocks in at six and a half. It’s not a ballad, but it is the closest this gets to it. If there’s no ballad of Jayne or anyone else here, then that’s just fine. This is too hard edged for that and the 21st century rocker doesn’t need sentimental anyway – they do, however need this. Fast.

The Japanese Bonus track is a hot, bleeding live version of “Killing Machine”, onne of the best racks from their underrated Vicious Circle album.
L.A. GUNS are truly one of the great American hard rock bands of the last three decades. From their self-titled debut in 1988 right through to the widely praised 2017 comeback album, they have always delivered solid rock ‘n roll to their fans.

“The Devil You Know” isn’t an exception.
The current incarnation of the band has been touring non-stop and the cohesiveness of the unit, not to mention Phil’s stunning and unique vocals and Tracii’ mind-bending guitar playing, are on full display here.
This baby rocks. With an ’80s heart.
HIGHLY Recommended

01. Rage
02. Stay Away
03. Loaded Bomb
04. The Devil You Know
05. Needle To The Bone
06. Going High
07. Gone Honey
08. Don’t Need To Win
09. Down That Hole
10. Another Season In Hell
11. Boom
12. Killing Machine (Live) (Japan Bonus Track)

Phil Lewis (vocals)
Tracii Guns (lead guitars)
Ace Von Johnson (rhythm guitars)
Johnny Martin (bass)
Shane Fitzgibbon (drums)


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