Sunday, April 25, 2004

Review: Brides of Destruction - Here Come The Brides (2004)

Brides of Destruction [ MySpace ]
Here Come The Brides
Sanctuary Records

The rampant reunification and resurrection of bands who spent their heyday in the latter half of the '80s that has occurred over the past few years has resulted in a mixed bag of success. Some attempted to hold true to the sound that won them fame back in the day, while others grasped at the latest "metal trends" in an effort to attract new fans. A precious few selected the best from both eras and managed to create a sound familiar to old fans yet fresh enough to gather new ones. Two bands that have journeyed down the road from '80s fame to 21st-century revival are Mötley Crüe and L.A. Guns, the founders of which have united in an effort to return a little bit of the '80s hair metal style into today's modern rock. Nikki Sixx, founder and main songwriter of Mötley Crüe, and Tracii Guns, founder and guitarist of L.A. Guns, picked up two relatively unknowns to the music scene in London LeGrand (vocals) and Scot Coogan (drums) to launch a project aimed at playing rock they way it was meant to be played. The band's debut album Here Come The Brides should not be dismissed as a hunk of retro metal, for it is much more than that. Brides of Destruction skillfully blend the punky attitude and sleazy style of the '80s L.A. rock scene with modern verve.

As he did with Mötley Crüe, Nikki Sixx assumes the role of main songwriter for Brides of Destruction and the album benefits for it. A bevy of punchy riffs, sophisticated bass lines, and memorable choruses is the foundation for Here Come The Brides, on top of which the skillfully crafted lyrics are delivered by newcomer London LeGrand. While not possessing a versatile voice, LeGrand does have a gritty drawl that enhances the trash factor yet can still infuse emotion when needed. From his Chris Robinson-like swagger on "Natural Born Killers" to his heartfelt delivery on "Life", LeGrand fits the music well. Belting out some wild licks and elaborate solos, guitar veteran Tracii Guns is in top form. While his band L.A. Guns never reached elite status in the world of '80s metal, Guns has soldiered on over the years while continuing to dish out the riffs like a pro. Here Come The Brides is a solid addition to his resume.

The album is, overall, a good hard rock listen. The opener, "Shut The Fuck Up", sets the mood right away with a driving riff that is as familiar as it is beefy. LeGrand is in your face with raw, studio-enhanced shouts while the band backs him up with a catchy chorus. Tracii doesn't hesitate to get right down to business with first-rate solo and Scot proves he can keep up behind the kit. The next track, "I Don't Care", opens with a riff straight from 1987 and proceeds to turn up the heat as it rolls on to be what I consider the most rockin' tune on the disk. It has a groove that gets your head moving and your fist pumping. Another highlight is "Natural Born Killers", a sleazy mix between Aerosmith and The Black Crowes. Perhaps sounding the least "updated" on Here Come The Brides, the song is full of the cock rock strut that permeated the airwaves as the '80s faded into the '90s just prior to the grunge movement.

Power ballads were pretty much obligatory back in the day, so it comes as no surprise that Here Come The Brides contains two. After all, Nikki and Tracii have penned some of the most memorable power ballads to come out of the hair metal generation. "Life" is a straightforward, uplifting little rocker that simply makes you feel good. And isn't that what music is all about? Some may dismiss "Life" as little more than cliché, but every so often you need a simple song whose only purpose is to make you feel good - that everything is gonna be all right. Rounding out the album is "Only Get So Far", a song Nikki reportedly wrote for Tim McGraw. Not as "moving" as "Life", it's nonetheless one of the several bright spots on the disc.

At the end of the day, Here Come The Brides isn't a groundbreaking album heralding the triumphant return of '80s hair metal. What it is, however, is a very good collection of guitar-driven rock songs that would not be out of place on today's radio alongside bands such as Puddle Of Mudd, Blink 182, and the like. If you're a fan of good, straightforward rock then Brides of Destruction is a band that will give you plenty of what you're looking for.

Track Listing
1 Shut The Fuck Up
2 I Don't Care
3 I Got A Gun
4 2x Dead
5 Brace Yourself
6 Natural Born Killers
7 Life
8 Revolution
9 Only Get So Far
Total Runtime

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