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Phil Campbell - Old Lions Still Roar Award winner

Phil Campbell
Old Lions Still Roar
by Eric at 18 November 2019, 11:30 PM

PHIL CAMPBELL needs no introduction, he was for over 25 years the riff master for the legendary MOTÔRHEAD, and while he has had another project under the moniker PHIL CAMPBELL AND THE BASTARD SONS, this is actually his very first solo effort, entitled “Old Lions Still Roar”, and was released back on October 25th 2019 on the Nuclear Blast label. Just to share a bit of a back story on my relationship with his legendary rock band, I was never a big fan of Lemmy’s growly vocals, nor the guitar style of that band for most of my life but back in 2005, I saw them headline here in Montreal at Metropolis and the performance that night blew me away. The energy, the riffs, the crowd and the powerful vocals amazed me for a solid 90 minutes, and I have never looked back since having listened to them for the last 14 years and just recently going through their entire discography in a chronological order. It is a great honor for me to be able to review Phil’s solo album.

On with the review ! The album has a plethora of special guest appearing on each track, basically a who’s who in the world of hard rock and heavy metal, and we will get into that shortly as we go through the album, track by track. The opener “Rocking Chair” has a very smooth, country/acoustic flavor, and while the structure of this piece is not designed to rock your socks off, it flows very well and lets the listener slowly dwell into the rock journey that is ahead. I was not familiar with the vocals of Leon Stanford, who has a very soft vocal style that first perfectly with the music.

The next song has one of my all-time favorite vocalists in Rob Halford and is entitled “Straight Up” and it is quite the rocking tune, definitely not what we are accustomed to with the modern era of JUDAS PRIEST, but it will have you tapping your feet to the beat and put a smile on your face. “Faith In Fire” features the vocal talents of Ben Ward, yet another singer I was not familiar with whatsoever. This a slow pounding number, that has a nice hard rocking groove. In some ways it reminds me a bit of the Load-era of METALLICA, an easy to follow beat as well that will have you banging your head in appreciation.

Swing it” was the first single I heard from the album before its official release and it features the iconic shock-rocker himself ALICE COOPER. This a brilliant piece of rock and roll that shines brightly on the album. The vocals really add a great layer to the song as well, one of my personal favorites on the album. “Left For Dead” again has a vocalist I had not heard before in Nev Macdonald, and is a much slower and bluesy song that really has a nice WHITESNAKE touch to it. It’s essentially a well-executed power ballad that has some clichés, but is an enjoyable song nonetheless.

Walk The Talk” has a lot more distortion than the previous songs and uses the dirty side of the guitar spectrum. It features two special guests in Danko Jones and Nick Oliveri, so we have some screams here and there. It’s a grimy song that sounds like it was taken out of the 90's era of alternative music. It is a completely different tempo and has a nice dynamic to it“These Old Boots” comes equipped with two great things, cowbell and the legendary Dee Snider. This is a fun song if I may say so. It has everything you want, great rhythm guitars, a simple drum beat and a catchy chorus. I guarantee you will enjoy this one!

It is followed by yet another great headbanging song in “Dancing Dogs (Love Survives)” and features Whitfield Crane on vocals, who almost sounds like Scott Weiland here (which is not a bad thing at all). The song has a bit of an ominous, creepy tone to it, that differentiates it from the other songs. The best comparison I could think of would be “Hellraiser”, although this song is a bit faster in tempo. “Dead Roses” is a melancholic piece, with piano and usually these songs are not my favorites but this one serves its purpose and slows down the album intentionally before the closer “Tears from a Glass Eye” that features the masterful talents one of the greatest guitarists to have ever lived in Joe Satriani that closes off the album with a light dose of acoustics and piano.

I don’t think anyone could have expected a better outcome for his first solo album, it has the elements one appreciated in his legendary band MOTÔRHEAD, yet it also adds other aspects in blues, hard rock, country and rock and roll that we didn’t necessarily hear the same way in his other band. I strongly suggest you give this album a listen and you will want to listen to it again and again.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Rocking Chair feat. Leon Stanford
2. Straight Up feat. Rob Halford
3. Faith In Fire feat. Ben Ward
4. Swing It feat. Alice Cooper
5. Left For Dead feat. Nev MacDonald
6. Walk The Talk feat. Danko Jones & Nick Oliveri
7. These Old Boots feat. Dee Snider
8. Dancing Dogs (Love Survives) feat. Whitfield Crane
9. Dead Roses feat. Benji Webbe
10. Tears From A Glass Eye feat. Joe Satriani
Phil Campbell - Guitars
Rob Halford - Guest Vocals
Ben Ward - Guest Vocals
Nev MacDonald - Guest Vocals
Danko Jones - Guest Vocals
Alice Cooper - Guest Vocals
Whitfield Crane - Guest Vocals
Nick Oliver - Guest Vocals
Benji Webb - Guest Vocals
Dee Snider - Guest Vocals
Joe Satriani - Guitars
Record Label: Nuclear Blast


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Edited 07 July 2020

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