We all love Dee Snider, now don’t we? I mean, what’s not to love, right? Ever since I got a hold of a copy of You Can’t Stop Rock ’n’ Roll back in 1983 I have been a fan of Dee’s and of Twisted Sister. I love all of their albums. Widowmaker? Hell yeah. At least Blood & Bullets (1992) was amazing. So is the Desperado album Ace that was recorded in the early 90’s but was shelved up until 2006. As a frontman, he’s damn hard to beat, if even possible and at the age of 66, Dee – the world’s oldest teenager – still has a powerful voice with a range to go with that. Still in good health and fit, Snider’s plans on retire has been moved to the trash-bin and by the looks of things, he has no plans of slowing down.
Back in 2016 Dee decided to release one final album before getting out of the music biz. Said album, the contemporary Metal album We Are The Ones was written solely by outside writers and didn’t exactly set the world on fire which made the decision to quit even easier, I guess. Enter: Hatebreed’s Jamey Jasta. Jasta talked Snider into giving it one more shot. All Snider had to do was to sing and put his own stamp on it and Jasta would do the rest. For The Love Of Metal (2018) became a more focused effort and while still a bit modern, it was more in the vein of classic Metal which suited Snider way better and with the success of that album Dee decided not to quit. With Jasta still by the steering wheel, Snider now decided it was time to put pen to paper and get involved with the song-writing for his new album. I say: finally!
With a titular nod back to his glory days, Snider kicks off the album with the leading single ”I Gotta Rock (Again)”. Musically, it’s far away from one of his biggest hits with almost the same name. This one’s a riff-happy metal-belter, fast-tracked and heavy as shit with a bone-crushing rhythm. It’s a thunderous, ballsy and aggressive tune but unlike the chorus-fest that once was Twisted Sister, the chorus is actually quite plain – but somehow it works anyway. I dig this. The muscular ”All Or Nothing More” is also a heavy stomper albeit with a darker touch. The verses are slower in a mid pace but the more accessible chorus is more upbeat. There’s also an edgy thrash-flirtatious riff involved which blends fine with the vocal-melodies. Good stuff.
The single ”Down But Never Out” is another aggressive piece where the razor-sharp riffing throws a clear nod towards Judas Priest and the whole song just sprays attitude, balls and heaviness all over the track. It’s straight-forward with a beefy rhythm-section and a fist-in-the-air, powerhouse stomp with some rapid gang-vocals, very in-your-face. Perfect for the stage. Good tune. ”Before I Go” is built on a Metal foundation but contrasts with some edgy Hard Rock as the mainstay of the song. While the core of the song might be hard as granite, it also takes a turn towards the 80’s with a more melodic approach, especially in the chorus which is hooky and catchy. Very good and the best one so far.
”Open Season” blasts out in a straight-forward rhythm but with a more contemporary, modern Metal vibe. It’s hard-hitting, punchy and direct with ballsy riffing and Snider firing on all cylinders. It’s a robust and powerful piece where Snider goes confrontational with whoever – ”was there a target on my back?”, ”you drew first blood”, ”you’ve given me a reason to tell it like it is”. I dig that but unfortunately the song itself is of the forgettable kind. ”Silent Battles” is an upbeat, in-your-face melodic Metal number with a large chunk of classic Hard Rock thrown in. The tune holds a distinct main-melody, a fat beat and a really memorable refrain that stays on for quite a while. Lyrically, the song comes off as therapeutic where Snider reveals his inner demons of his past. Great stuff.
”Crying For Your Life” takes a slower pace and is more stripped-down, mellow and sinister sounding at first but soon takes a punchier and heavier path. The tune goes right from metal-balladry directly into a more upbeat Heavy Metal explosion. As a breather, the song holds a contrasting slow and dark mid-break before it keeps beating us up. Unfortunately, the song isn’t that special and I can’t even remember how the chorus sounds. The ballsy and in-your-face ”In For The Kill” throws some tuned-down guitars our way where the riffage is intense and striking. The verses are slower and a bit held-back but still with a dark atmosphere and heavy as hell while the energetic chorus distinct and concise and even catchy. Yeah, a good track it is.
Fast, aggressive and heavier than a monk’s nutsack, ”Time To Choose” is hard as stone and here to give us all a good beating with brutal guitars and a fierce rhythm-section. We also get some Death Metal growls courtesy of Corpsegrinder from Cannibal Corpse. It’s a crushing Metal number but still brings on memorable melodies that catches on. It’s a great number but I could easily have managed without the growls. ”S.H.E.” is a fat-riffed and edgy metal-blaster in a mid tempo. While it’s a rowdy and gritty tune it also holds some hooky melodies that glimpses back to Dee’s 80’s mildly. It might be an ode to Dee’s wife Suzette but it sure as hell ain’t no power ballad. Great.
The menacing ”The Recking” takes off kicking and screaming like a wounded elephant in a fast tempo with lots of heaviness and aggression. It’s a furious shit-kicker that borders to Speed Metal, straight-forward with shitloads of attitude but it’s also a quite forgettable and seem to go more for sheer brutality than melody and therefore lacks both hooks and effective melodies. A filler, in my opinion. As the album’s farewell, the dark and eerie sounding ballad ”Stand” works just fine. Down-beat, deep and engaging, it’s a Heavy Metal ballad meaning it might be mellow but it’s still heavy. ”Don’t leave a mark, leave a scar”, sings Dee and leaves us in a dramatic way. Very good indeed.
While it’s nice to see Dee part of the song-writing again, there’s really not much of a difference between this album and the last one which in turn means it has the same issues – it comes across as a bit samey after a while. I know that Dee is and has always been a true metal-head but at times I feel he’s taking it a bit too far. I don’t mind him going full-on Metal on us but I kinda miss his hooks, his over-the-top catchy choruses and his sense of poppiness. When Dee was asked why he didn’t write songs anymore his response was that ”when I write the songs only 80’s sounding music comes out”. That makes me wish even more that he got on with it. That said, this is a good and competent record and I really enjoy it and I’m happy he’s still releasing new music but man what I wouldn’t give for an album of all Dee Snider compositions.