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Big Guns - Down But Not Out

Big Guns
Down But Not Out
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 05 December 2013, 4:37 PM

“It’s not the way you rock, it’s the way that you roll”, ohh I deeply remember that incredible line from the classic tune of the San Francisco band DIRTY LOOKS, from their 1988’s album, “Cool From The Wire”. But I am not hear to talk about the Americans, but on this fellow Brits from Enniskillen, UK, that in a weird kind of good way, remind me of the old DIRTY LOOKS in such a manner that had me wishing the American Rockers would come back to their old selves. Nonetheless, the British BIG GUNS, flashing their goods to the masses, are slightly more than your average Hard Rock band as their treasure chest, other than encasing AC/DC, THIN LIZZY and early 70’s BLACK SABBATH, glistened with a sparkle of early 80’s JUDAS PRIEST and IRON MAIDEN, capturing some of the old NWOBHM vibe of 1980 with an astounding finesse. Independently debuting with “Down But Not Out”, BIG GUNS assumed the position as travel guides to the golden era of British Hard Rock, leaving the 80’s evolution of LED ZEPPELIN and DEEP PURPLE to rot behind while endorsing heads straight musical simplicity that glimmered throughout eight tracks.

Behind the wall of already heard guitar riffing (but it didn’t matter much right here), classic Rock oriented soloing, slow to mid tempos, soaring vocals a bit steeper than Brian Johnson’s and less screechy (Stony kind at times) and an elegant rhythm section keeping the pace in check, there is this magical electric vibe that fused me to this album from start to the glorious soothing finishing that melt my heart, making me shiver (after listening to it for a nearly a thousand times). Usually, if you were aware from my earlier stuff that I am a riff fan, also enjoying heavy rhythm guitaring, but this is one of those times that I clang to something greater and mightier, which is the Rock sensation that has nothing to do with today’s music. BIG GUNS blew my fuse with an exciting vibe of Hard Rock that clenched fists and danced around bars with the slightly groove BLACK SABBATHian / IRON MAIDEN hard riffer “Remember Me”, reminded me at times of “Wrathchild”, flagging IRON MAIDEN soloing and the AC/DC rusted hymn of “Fall From Grace”, turned up a mooch around sleaze thru “Kiss N’ Tell” enshrining old Glam Rock and “Song For A Friend” where the crunchy DIRTY LOOKS meets the highway rolling JUDAS PRIEST of “Point Of Entry”. The cover for Neil Young’s classic “Rockin’ In The Free World” felt heavy but true with its tribute to the old Rock giant, unlike other covers that alter the original’s feel, BIG GUNS kept it steady and loyal to the core. However, the final peaceful discharge of this album ended with the instrumental dream of “Forever & Always”. It will make you forget yourself for just an instant, thinking about the past, possibly early endeavors gone badly but also with a flick of hope.

Nothing more and nothing less, “Down But Not Out” is a memory of a past that seldom nowadays artists can recapture and secure as a win. That old feel of the early 80’s is something of a miss, but eventually it will come again and revived. BIG GUNS went down the stretch and conquered their spot as great contenders with this debut; let’s hope they will keep it that way.      

4 Star Rating

1. Red Eyed & Rollin’
2. Devil’s Highway
3. Song For A Friend
4. Remember Me
5. Kiss N Tell
6. Rockin’ In The Free World (Neil Young Cover)
7. Fall From Grace
8. Forever & Always
Kieran McArdle - Guitar & Vocals
Tony Drumm - Bass
Lisa Howe - Drums
Daniel O'Toole - Guitar
Record Label: Independent


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