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Alcatrazz - Born Innocent

Born Innocent
by Barry Goat at 02 August 2020, 8:03 PM

Break out your spandex, and start spraying the hair spray because ALCATRAZZ is back! ALCATRAZZ is a English-American metal band that was formed in 1983 by Graham Bonnet, Jimmy Waldo, Gary Shea with their debut album “No Parole From Rock ‘n’ Roll“ on Rocshire Records. MTV gave them some love with their hit single “Island In The Sun,“ but it didn’t gain any radio play. The band may not have much success with the charts, but that didn’t slow them down. They produced four albums before calling it quits in 1987. The song “God Blessed Video“ even made it to the soundtrack on Grand Theft Auto’s Vice City in 2002. Graham Bonnet describes their sounds as “the thinking man’s heavy metal.“

The new album starts out with the title track “Born innocent.“ A song almost resembling a cross of AVENGED SEVENFOLD, and Dee Snyder starting off with a dramatic intro followed immediately with lyrics. A solid simple riff that brings you back to the best of the 80s, and a touch of modern as the double bass drum kick going into the chorus. If you’ve missed the hairband days, this track immediately brings you back to a simpler time when the future of rock was uncertain. A strong solo, and the final chorus finishes the song as solid as it started.

The third song “Finn McCool“ is a rocking song with sweeping fast guitar solos, as Bonnet tells the story of a Irishman. A happy little tune with an outstanding performance from the guitarist bringing back the feeling of the original band with incredible sweeping riffs, and a strong solo to finish the track. Whether you’re into old school rock, or not this song will reel you in! The next track “We Still Remember“ starts off with a soft synthesizer intro that quickly turns into controlled chaos with a solid riff, and quick solo before the lyrics start telling a story of the old days.

Musically my favorite song so far with periods of the band taking parts to shine in the song. They really go back to their roots with this song. I can see this song being played commercially, a really strong song. I just have to talk about “London 1666“ with a long pick slide down the neck into a quick tempo riff. One of the most memorable intros on the album. As fast paced palm muted chords play while the verse’s pour out. Another well played solo that compliments a minute and thirty
seconds the nearly five minute song with sweeping scales, hair raising squeals, the guitarist makes this song!

The tenth track “Body Beautiful“ is another good song with a old school feel. Nice, crunchy chugs, tremolo squeals, and lyrically maybe one of the best songs on the album. A story of aging grandmother with old tattoos, but a positive message of showing them no matter what anyone says. The guitarist has outdone himself again with speed, and a heavy palm muted masterpiece with the solo. The instrumentals make the song.

The last song on “Born Innocent“ is titled “For Tony“. I’m not sure if he was paying homage to his friend, but the song just didn’t fit the album. With off key trumpets, and trombone, it may have meant something to praise Tony, but with a comeback album.. Didn’t really fit in.

Overall you really have to appreciate these old bands, metal wouldn't be what it is today without them paving the way, and inspiring young musicians to put it all on the table. Instrumental wise, I really enjoyed the album. With the exception of “We Still Remember“ I found the lyrics failed to stand strong compared to the heavy riffs, and I wished the quality of the recording was a higher resolution. I will praise ALCATRAZZ for coming back, putting this out there, and I hope they finally get the chance they deserve.

Songwriting 6
Musicianship 8
Memorability 8
Production 6

3 Star Rating

1. Born Innocent
2. Polar Bear
3. Finn McCool
4. We Still Remember
5. London 1666
6. Dirty Like The City
7. I Am The King
8. Something I Am Missing
9. Paper Flags
10. The Wound Is Open
11. Body Beautiful
12. Wrath Lane
13. For Tony
Graham Bonnet - Vocals
Jimmy Waldo - Keyboard, Synthesizers, Backing vocals
Gary Shea - Bass, Backing vocals
Joe Stump - Guitar
Mark Benquechea - Dums
Record Label: Silver Lining Music


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