In a recent interview I did with guitarist Snake Sabo, he mentioned how much he and his bandmates in SKID ROW are enjoying going the EP route rather than deal with all the headaches involved in a full album cycle. And on Rise of the Damnation Army – United World Rebellion: Chapter Two it shows. As good as UWB: Chapter One was, there is even more of a feeling that these guys were fired up about these songs. And not just because there’s heaviness aplenty, but you can just feel the energy coming off of the music.
As soon as Sabo and Scotti Hill’s guitars kick in on opener “We Are the Damned” I swear I’m like, “THIS is how a rock band is supposed to do it!”, you know? And believe me, I was a tough sell before hearing the last EP. Even then I wasn’t totally convinced that this band still had it. Well as soon as I heard “Give It the Gun” if I wasn’t fully convinced, that did it in an awful hurry. This one-two combo has been on repeat a lot lately. Johnny Solinger spits fire and is pretty much all attitude on both of these songs, which manage to capture the classic sound of the band while forging ahead in 2014. And I’d be lying if I said that “Damnation Army” wouldn’t have fit perfectly on Slave to the Grind. It’s a high-speed call to arms, this one, and should be on many playlists in the coming months ahead.
Now with all this greatness, I was NOT a fan of the lone ballad “Catch Your Fall”. It just felt like it was going nowhere. But all was made well again by “Zero Day” with its ominous single riff played over and over until Rachel Bolan’s bass and Rob Hammersmith’s drums kick in, making an already heavy song even chunkier. Two covers close out the disc: “Sheer Heart Attack” by QUEEN, and AERSOSMITH’S “Rats in the Cellar”. I get nervous whenever someone covers QUEEN, because I hold them very sacred, but SKID ROW does a great job with it, injecting it with a bit o’punk and really sounding like they had some fun with it. “Rats” actually takes the original and gives it a lot more balls. I really enjoyed both.
Overall, SKID ROW has taken another step in the right direction with United World Rebellion: Chapter Two. Making EPs definitely agrees with them, and the songs’ energy speaks volumes. Plus, they really do sound like a band that is having fun making records again. And I think that’s what matters when you’ve been around as long as they have. The EP comes out August 5 via Megaforce Records. Pick one up, and crank the shit out of it!
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Give It the Gun”, “We Are the Damned”, “Damnation Army”