This week sees my CD player and iPod blessed with some rather good slabs of whatever CDs are made of. Varying types of hard rock, but all of it rather intriguing. What is even better is that I have been privileged to hear two damn fine bands that had not yet reached my radar screen.
Red Light Rippers: Nobody Likes a Rat
The last time I heard unknown sleaze rock that was this good it was by a band called Guns N Roses and it was way back in 1989... on vinyl. This stuff is just sweating bodily fluids you would rather not think about. It's driving nasty and catchy as a case of the clap from a hooker. I mean, with tracks like "Trailer Trash Trixie", what the hell do you expect? "Let's Go" leads you to a place you really wanna go.
Staci T. Rat has that vocal scratch and sleaze and reminds me of Taimi Downe of Faster Pussycat. As with FP and Hanoi Rocks, there is a taste of glam trash. They are touring the UK with Glenn Matlock (of the Sex Pistols) and have at least one date with Gilby Clarke (ex-Guns N Roses). I am going to see this lot live and can't bloody wait. It's one of those records that leaves you with a cheeky sordid grin that's hard to wipe off. So what is wrong with a bit of guilty pleasure?
After all the turmoil within this band (a stabbing and a breakdown of band leader Timo Tolkki), it is quite a surprise to see them back for another go — their 11th. Fear not, they have not gone all modern on us. They're still playing uber-symphonic metal with oodles of class. They have a song called "Gotterdammerung (Zenith Of Power)", just in case you remain unconvinced. The Finnish band has all but the bassist of the previous outing on this CD.
Unlike many symphonic metal albums, this CD has been kept to nine tracks which is probably a good thing. What is most amusing to me is the track
"Just Carry On" sounds as if it's from A-Ha or even Europe in their prime and is quite good Scandi-pop/rock. Unlike much of the band's stuff, this track is catchy and very approachable. For most bands, this CD would be impressive. Looking back at Stratovarius' past few years, it's a bloody miracle.