Sunday, September 29, 2013
Michael MONROE: "Horns and Halos"
Label: Spinefarm 2013
Review by: Urban "Wally" Wallstrom
There's merely one really cool hard rocker out of Scandinavia and I'm not talking about Lars 'Napster-Junkie' Ulrich or Joey 'Too Posh' Tempest. The very definition of sleazy 'n cool reads Matti Fagerholm or if you prefer Michael Monroe. He may look like if your Mother's late 70s glitter make-up kit exploded and spent its days in the gutter ever since, but there's absolutely no faulty when it comes to the music. Indeed, he's still out there making great songs which is something that sadly can't be said about the above mentioned two.
'Horns and Halos', sporting the Glam image reminiscent of New York Dolls, but musically it's epileptic and basically the mix of Punk, Glam, Sleaze, UK Pub Rock, and the traditional hardrock. In fact, a song and dance number like,"Ballad of the Lower East Side", may actually have more in common with U.K. heroes such as The Pogues and The Damned rather than blunt heavy metal. Opener "TNT Diet" is however sleazier than your mother's latest boyfriend and the Swedes of Backyard Babies tried to create something similar at their best. Dregen is in fact Monroe's new lead guitarist and the two surely must be the sleaziest/ugliest front pair in rock?
'Eighteen Angels' has class written all over it, it's groove, funky, hard hitting rock with just a hint of Aerosmith and Rolling Stones. 'Saturday Night Special' is darn catchy and very British. The title track smokes and 'Child of the Revolution' ooze and reek of Stones, Bowie, T-Rex, and Hanoi Rocks. Damn, this is good and the new(er) acts from Finland has still a lot to learn from the classy vocals by Monroe. I actually discovered Michael Monroe and his solo albums years before Hanoi Rocks, which I honestly didn't appreciate until their 2008 compilation "This One's For Rock'N'Roll". By the way... I always thought they were named HANIO Rocks as a kid... since they're from Finland and Hanio is sort of finnish sounding indeed.
Final verdict: Classy mix of sleazy, punky and funky influences and basically the must have kick-azz rock album in the year of 2013. Highly Recommended (and not far from the 5th R as in rating).