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SKID ROW – United World Rebellion Chapter One (2013)
I know Johnny Solinger’s been in the band longer than Sebastian was. I know the band probably hate Sebastian’s name even being brought up in a review such as this. I’ve been standing by the band through their last two albums (2003’s Thickskin and 2006’s Revolutions Per Minute). My interest waned quite a bit, on the long wait between releases by the band. This new EP (5 new songs) is failing to rouse me from my ambivalence. So I’ll just come out and say it: Guys, get Sebastian back. It’s time. If Eddie Van Halen can get up on stage again with David Lee Roth and grin that grin of his, then Rachel Bolan can get over Sebastian Bach.
The thing is, there’s nothing wrong with United World Rebellion. (Last album was a “revolution”, now they’re having a “rebellion”. What will the next album be? Defiance, disobedience, dissension, heresy, insubordination, insurgency?) It’s heavy like old Skid Row. It has squealing, howling solos like old Skid Row and riffs reminiscent of the classic stuff. Johnny’s throwing everything he’s got into his performance. It’s just…not memorable.
The most striking song is the first one, “Kings of Demolition”, which is really good. Only problem: It’s more than just a little similar to “Monkey Business” from Slave. “Monkey Business” is a great heavy song, but you’re not going to top it by re-writing it. It’s downhill from there. I must have played this EP eight or nine times now, and I still can’t remember how “Let’s Go”, “Get Up”, and “Stitches” go. They are all heavy, riffy…and non-descript. The only song that stands out is “This is Killing Me”, the token ballad (right smack in the middle of the EP), and it stands out only because it’s a ballad. You can hear the (intended?) similarity to a certain hit ballad by the Sebastian version of Skid Row…but without his soaring vocals. Once again, you can’t create a new memorable song if you’re repeating an old one.
Sorry guys. I’m usually in favour of bands carrying on with new members, because I’d rather have that than no band at all. Unfortunately, Skid Row needs Sebastian Bach as much as Sebastian Bach wants to be in Skid Row. Johnny can take a proud bow, because he’s no slouch and he did the best job possible. I wanna see it happen.
EDIT: May 15 2013 – There is a European version coming with two bonus tracks, both covers. Bastards.