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Monday, July 30, 2018

ALBUM REVIEW:Dee Snider displays power and passion on For The Love Of Metal

WHEN Dee Snider bellows out "I gave you yesterday" on 'Tomorrow's No Concern' it is a declaration that whatever is in the past, whether he is regarded by lame brains as a legacy act, or whatever the sneering voices may say he is as relevant and as prescient as when 'Under The Blade' was released.

The most recent live shows with Dee we witnessed were at the triumphant final UK Twisted Sister show at Bloodstock and an amazing solo show at Hammerfest - and each time, despite the circumstances, the fire in the belly of the man was evident.

And, on 'For The Love Of Metal' that fire has been stoked to inferno-like levels.

It might have been sparked by Jamey Jasta (who produced and wrote much of this) but this is Dee Snider in his purest essence: sheer metal honesty.

From the opening hyper-speed 'Lies Are A Business' through to the title track closer this is an essential purchase and will live on playlists well beyond 2018.

Jasta has coaxed a passion and power from Snider that we all knew existed. Indeed this collaboration takes the bombast and adds more finesse and added doses of heft.

At 63 Dee has never sounded so well. The 'heaviness' of the tracks doesn't diminish the quality of the vocals, the melody, and...fuck it, the sheer singalong of every single fucking chorus.

That so many musicians queued up be involved (Mark Morton of Lamb of God, Howard Jones of KSE, Joel Grind and Nick Bellmore of Toxic Holocaust and Alissa White-Gluz of Arch Enemy) should tell  Snider of the regard that he is held in by so many people. Fuck the haters, because this is Dee Fucking Snider.

And, in true metal 80s tradition there had to be a power ballad...he and Alissa duet on Dead Hearts (Love Thy Enemy). While such duets were much beloved by record executives this anti-bullying song feels timeless with some fantastic playing and Alissa's clean vocals and Snider's snarl.

But Snider's voice could have been seen as a template for many of the growlers that have come in his wake - there is an edge here that fits everything that went before and amps it up to another level, without once sacrificing tunefulness.

And, without ever once compromising - 'Running Mazes' and 'Roll Over You' have a metallic viciousness that is fucking spot-on.

But the real magic within 'For The Love Of Metal' is a timeless quality. Sure, you can hear Jasta's influence, you can dig within tracks to see the source influences, and even thrash sounds, but these facts do not take away from the fact that this is a triumphant, defiant 'fuck you'.

There is a self-awareness too - 'Mask' and 'I'm Ready' just nail that and much more. However, the more revelatory statement comes on 'Become The Storm' when Dee declares "No more time to reminisce". This isn't some nostalgia trip, and the sentiment is we can go through shit, we can be at our lowest and then salvation emerges in the shape of being amongst our brothers and sisters in loving heavy fucking metal.

In a similar vein 'The Hardest Way' - with Howard Jones - kicks more ass than a pissed off thoroughbred but we emerge -tested, and with the courage required in "stepping into the blinding light".

Closing off the album with the title track it is Dee's homage to metal - pick off the references and despite it all - this is not cheesy. This is a hymn to why we all love metal, and an ode to the enduring power of this community, the music that binds young and old in sweet abandon.

Mr Snider (and Mr Jasta too) we doff our caps to you, and are ready to headbang with you - as you say "we are all fucking metal".

Whether you buy or stream - just listen to this NOW. 

Review by Jonathan Traynor

For The Love Of Metal is out now on Napalm Records

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