Starting life as a business pitch-cum-challenge from Jamey Jasta on his podcast during a discussion about all things Dee Snider’s career and heavy metal in general, Snider told Jasta that if he produced and wrote it, he would sing on an album of metal tracks veering away from his standard hard rock fare.
So Jasta called in friends like Lamb of God’s Mark Morton and the Bellmore brothers who wrote and played on his last solo album, and got to writing an album with the focus on a modern heavy sound with Dee’s vocal talent the centre of attention.
I have never been too much of a fan of Dee Snider’s output, and never being one for the glam look his most famous band fell into meant I missed that bus predominantly through ignorance. But I have never denied his powerful vocal ability, something that comes on strong immediately on first track ‘Lies are a Business’. After a fast hardcore drum intro, the vocals tear through the speakers and straight away Dee means business.
Although assembled from several different artists, the music fits seamlessly together as the album takes you on a ride through modern metal, creating some stand outs along the way such as ‘Tomorrow’s No Concern’ ‘Roll Over You’ and ‘Become the Storm’. Noticing the lyrical similarities?
This is my only genuine niggle with this album. The lyrics are written predominantly by Jamey Jasta and he can’t seem to get away from his standard Hatebreed-style lyrics. When he does, on tracks like ‘Running Mazes’ and ‘Mask’ that take a slightly different tact on the standard Jasta/Hatebreed lyrical format, they come off as repetitive and out of place.
The best is saved for the final three tracks, starting with a guest appearance by Howard Jones on ‘The Hardest Way’, balancing his clean vocal perfectly with Dee’s more thrash rasp before Jones releases that famous roar of his for a very short appearance. This is followed up with ‘Dead Hearts (Love Thy Enemy) that sees a great duet with Alissa White-Gluz and Dee Snider. Interestingly, White-Gluz puts in a beautiful clean performance against Dee’s hard rock vocals. The song opens with acoustic guitar and soft percussion before Snider blasts in, taking it from ballad territory and back on track towards metal country.
‘For the Love of Metal’ finishes the album as it began. Although Dee didn’t write a note of music or line of lyric, his passion for metal shines in a great vocal performance, while the lyrics rattle off a pile of famous song titles in the verses, adding to the theme of the album.
The album does what it set out to do, bring a sense of joy and personal strength into a metal album, but not in a cheesy way. The vocal power from the now 63 year old Dee Snider should rightly leave you amazed at his huge ability as a vocalist and frontman.
1. Lies are a Business
2. Tomorrow’s No Concern
3. I Am the Hurricane
4. American Made
5. Roll Over You
6. I’m Ready
7. Running Mazes
9. Become the Storm
10. The Hardest Way
11. Dead Hearts (Love Thy Enemy)
12. For the Love of Metal