To think that Dee Snider was on the verge of retirement just a few short years back, all before Hatebreed’s Jamey Jasta asked him on his podcast to record an album with Jasta producing.
The resultant album, For the Love of Metal, was a decent slab of American metal that proved that Snider had vocal chops that could still outdo almost anyone in the hard rock and classic metal scene.
Skip forward a few years (and a live album), and full of confidence after the success of their previous collaboration, Dee is back with Jasta again producing and a few mates to help write some heavy music. The biggest difference here is lyrical. Snider has found his book of lyrics and opened it for Leave a Scar. With its more personal and positive bent over the traditional fare of the last release, that make this album better. The best example is the honest rocker In for the Kill, that oozes his current mindset towards this project as well as reflecting on his career.
This change is noticeable as soon as the tunes start spinning but comes to the fore on All or Nothing and the more hardcore driven Down But Never Out. Another major difference is the backing vocals peppered everywhere courtesy of Jasta that add a beefy metalcore tone to so much of the album. Open Season plods along with a familiar stomp although the backing vocals and palpable anger in Snider’s vocal help make it a stand out on the first side of the album.
Never one to leave an idea unrecorded (have you heard any of Dee’s 90’s solo output?), there are some interesting things laying among the track list. The biggest is Time to Choose’ with George ‘Corpsegrinder’ Fischer providing backing vocals, a vocalist Dee Snider requested specifically for his well-recognised low guttural abilities. It comes off as more an experiment and it works, but I would love to have heard Corpseginder play a larger role on the track.
When I reviewed the first album, I wrote about just how much Dee Snider’s vocals slotted into music that was written for him, and on reflection I did start to cringe a little at some of the lyrical content. With the personal lyrical touches laid bare here, there is plenty left in the Snider/Jasta musical project if they choose to continue to work together, barely setting a foot wrong and avoiding a ballad. The energy stays high and heavy throughout, even leaving the heaviest track, The Reckoning, as its penultimate farewell hammering away in full thrash mode, before the inspiring Stand as the closest to a ballad on the album, although that drop in energy is needed to really put a bullet point against the message Snider wanted to draw from this.
Don’t Leave a mark… Leave a Scar. We are all in this life together, give as good as you get: A message I am happy to stand behind.
1. I Gotta Rock (Again)
2. All or Nothing More
3. Down But Never Out
4. Before I Go
5. Open Season
6. Silent Battles
7. Crying for Your Life
8. In For the Kill
9. Time to Choose
11. The Reckoning