ALCATRAZZ is back with a new album Born Innocent (out now, Silver Lining Music). Vocalist extraordinaire Graham Bonnet is once again at the helm, and fellow originals Jimmy Waldo and Gary Shea (keyboards and bass respectively) are also along for the ride, as is drummer Mark Benquechea and newest member of the fold, guitarist Joe Stump. He’s got a great technique and sounds like he’s at home. On that guitar front we also get a couple of guest stars in Chris Impellitteri, who wrote and plays on the title track, as well as the late Bob Kulick whose writing and playing make “I Am the King” one of the album’s finest cuts. There are more six-string heroes but if I listed them all you’d probably zone out.
Elsewhere we get “Polar Bear,” a story song about when older members of the Eskimo Tribe sacrifice themselves to the cold and get taken away by the polar bears. Kind of gruesome, sure, but the riffs and groove make it a great one. “Finn McCool” is a four-on-the-floor speedster with a soaring chorus, and “Paper Flags” is another all-out metal attack. “Dirty Like the City,” written by legend Steve Vai, would sound equally at home in the 80’s as it does here and now, so good job! Another instant winner for yours truly is “The Wound is Open.” It’s very rough and tumble, and the bottom end is thick as hell! The same can be said for “Something That I Am Missing” both in terms of its gruffness and its home in the winner’s circle.
“London 1666” is the perfect tune for getting in your car, heading out on the highway and just letting it rip, while “Body Beautiful” has more of a marching feel to it, like an advancing army coming for you. So all told there is a lot to like on this disc.. And while I do feel that a couple songs could probably have been clipped, the majority of the record is very good. I only bring that up because 13 trucks is a lot to take in from any band, not just this one. Still, at the end of the day ALCATRAZZ have delivered something that most, if not all, Heavy Metal and Hard Rock fans can surely get behind. So check out Born Innocent and see what you think.
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Something That I Am Missing”, “The Wound Is Open”, “Dirty Like the City”, “I Am the King”, “Polar Bear”