This is their new album right? At least that’s what I thought many times while listening. It primarily sounds like something they would have released early on in their career. There are a few modern elements, but not a lot to really take away from the original L.A. GUNS sound this album beautifully emits. The Missing Peace (Frontiers Music, October 13) is the band’s eleventh studio album and is also dubbed as their reunion record, since this is the recording in 15 years to feature original founder and guitar player Tracii Guns with original singer Philip Lewis. Joining them is guitarist Michael Grant, drummer Shane Fitzgibbon, and bassist Johnny Martin.
The first track, “It’s All the Same To Me,” right off the bat knocks it out of the park. It starts off simply with the drums banging out a beat until a crunchy guitar chimes in. Then the song just explodes with the raw and hard sound L.A. GUNS has always been known for. “Speed” is the first single and it starts off with an electrifying opening guitar riff which goes along well with the rest of the energy of the song. This track also showcases Phil Lewis’ gritty, crunchy vocals that have not lost their very well-known tone. The guitar solo in this track is just as electrifying, if not more than the opening riff.
“Kill It or Die” has a cool, heavy, groovy bass tune. The rhythm and syncopation during much of the verses is interesting. Immediately following that is Phil Lewis showing the harder, heavier, near screaming singing talent he possesses. Right before the guitar solo he shows off his throaty, gritty scream which flows nicely into the equally gritty solo. “Don’t Bring a Knife to a Gunfight” features a killer opening riff and sharper, smoother vocals and probably has the most modern elements in terms of vocal stylings. The guitar solo is also very virtuosic which goes along with the rest of the song very well.
“The Flood’s the Fault of the Rain” is definitely my favorite ballad if not my favorite song on the entire disc. It seems to contain the most passion out of all of the other tracks. From Phil Lewis’ impassioned vocals to the guitar solo you can feel grab at your soul, this track can easily get you hooked and become stuck in your mind. “The Devil Made Me Do It,” brings the energy of the album back up again, to an even higher point than before. This song is very energetic, so much so that it makes you want to headbang, or be unable to resist tapping your foot or bouncing your leg. The guitar solo manages to intensify things even more and end the song at such a height that you’re begging for more.
At first you may think they are trying to take you on a roller coaster for the last half of the album, but the title track pulls a fast one on you. It starts out slow and almost acoustic sounding, but amps up the energy coupled with a whole lot of passion. The way Lewis seems to strain his voice and the virtuosic guitar solo both add to its intensity. Closer “Gave It All Away” is just as intense as the previous track, but with a more melodic guitar solo and seemingly orchestral background. Phil’s vocals are just as impassioned, which pulls you into the song further, wrapping up the album nicely.
Overall I definitely enjoyed The Missing Peace and feel as if it may be one of their best albums to date. Although none can be better than their self-titled debut, this one is definitely high ranking. This record is a great comeback for the reunion of Tracii Guns and Philip Lewis who absolutely show how well their talents go together then and now. Let’s hope these two never part ways again from L.A. GUNS and instead produce more killer music together.
STANDOUT TRACKS: “It’s All the Same to Me,” “The Flood’s the Fault of the Rain,” “The Missing Peace,” “Gave It All Away”