I have a handful of very sacred bands that hold a special place in my heart. When I use the term “sacred bands,” I don’t mean it in the general way referring to bands like Black Sabbath or Led Zeppelin (who are very sacred in the rock world). I’m using the term in a very personal way, referring to bands that have made a major impact on my life. That’s not to say that Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin haven’t made an impact on my life because let’s face it…whom haven’t they impacted? But there are certain bands that make up the soundtrack to my life, certain songs or albums that will forever remind me of a very specific moment like it just happened. Skid Row is one of my sacred bands.
Being one of my sacred bands means I’m not always receptive to change, especially to the original lineup. And I hate, hate, hate when bands get new singers and think they can go on like nothing’s changed. A few years ago, I traveled seven hours to see Skid Row with their new lead singer because I wanted to see if this guy could hold his own, to see if the Skid Row I loved so hardcore would even be the same. I stood there in the drizzling, miserable rain expecting the absolute worst, but ladies and gentlemen…Johnny Solinger blew my ass away. It was a different Skid Row, but some how, some way, it just worked. I screamed out every word to every song with heartfelt fury and devoured every note like it would be the last I would ever hear from them. Yes, oh yes…Skid Row still had it.
Luckily, it wouldn’t be the last I would ever hear from them. 2013 brings new and exciting things from Skid Row: United World Rebellion – Chapter One. I love the title for two reasons: 1) It reassures me that these guys are still rebellious; it’s like a mature version of Youth Gone Wild and 2) It implies that there are more chapters to come. Instead of releasing one full length album, they will release three EPs over the course of a year. Why? According to Rachel Bolan, he, “liked the idea of a steady flow of new music, as opposed to releasing a full-length album then riding it for the next two years. That makes it more exciting and our fans don’t have to wait that long for new material.” The album will be available in retail stores with a collector’s box that will hold all three EPs. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I know I’m in the minority here, but MP3s are not for me. I still enjoy having a physical copy of an album in my hands to touch and feel and read. Hell, I’d buy vinyl if it was still readily available. So I’m truly excited about a collector’s box to make the already intriguing three EP release even more intriguing. But don’t worry all you techies out there; the album is also available for digital download.
Although this is a short and sweet five songs, it’s full of solid knock outs. As soon as you hit play, you will instantly recognize the guitar powerhouse of Snake and Scotti and that signature Rachel Bolan bass sound. It opens with the ball busting Kings of Demolition, which has that classic Skid Row vibe. The heavy artillery continues on “Let’s Go” with a chorus that has a Twisted Sister flavor, even down to Johnny’s voice sounding similar to Dee Snider’s. “This is Killing Me” slows things down a bit, probably so you can catch your breath, but then they come right back and bust you in the face with “Get Up.” And after this rock and roll beating, it’s pretty fitting that the EP ends with “Stitches” because honestly…you may need some. This album is like going on the best roller coaster ride ever, getting tossed and thrown around while having the time of your life. And when the ride is over, you’re a little battered and bruised, but you get right back in line for more.
Through the years, Skid Row has continued to put out solid music, but I feel like United World Rebellion – Chapter One may be their best to date with Johnny Solinger. If Chapter One is a foreshadowing of what’s coming on the next two chapters, we’re about to get our asses handed to us. Skid Row proves that no matter how many years have passed since they first exploded onto the scene, they still have the balls to give society the middle finger and they still have the talent to back it up. Yes, oh yes…Skid Row still has it.