Thursday, January 23, 2014

Julian ANGEL's BEAUTIFUL BEAST: ”Kick Down The Barricades”

Rating: RRR
Label: Platinum Blonde Records 2014
Review by Kimmo Toivonen

Julian Angel continues his mission to bring back the spirit of '89 with the third Beautiful Beast album. Now with Ramy Ali on drums (Freedom Call/Evidence One) and Frank McDouglas on bass, the Beast is more of a band again, compared to the previous album which was pretty much a solo effort for Julian.

I was hoping that ”Kick Down The Barricades” would have been the ultimate Beautiful Beast album, but unfortunately I don't like it as much as I liked the previous one "California Suntan". I feel that the songs on that one were stronger, although "Kick..." does have its' moments too.

The first three songs are all rather fine examples of what Beautiful Beast is all about. "Bad Boys Never Dance" is an impressive opening, with riffs straight from 1989, very vintage sound and Julian singing better than ever. The chorus is one of my favourites of the album, even though it might owe a little to another song about bad boys and their habit of running wild. "Big Stuff" has a bit of a funky edge á la The Electric Boys and a good singalong hook. The catchy "Can't Stand The Fiction" is the kind of smooth hard rocker that Firehouse used to write back in the day, and along with the opening track, it's my favourite song of the album.

"Shock 'Em Dead" is a Ratt-like groovy rocker, but the hook doesn't really work for me. The obligatory ballad "The Night Cries Out For You" is nice and melodic, but somehow it sounds like it was written because "there has to be a ballad on the album!". Still, it's a masterpiece compared to what comes next...

To create "Unsexy", Julian has taken Aerosmith's "Rag Doll" and Poison's "Unskinny Bop", smashed them into pieces, mixed the pieces and put them back together using a glue that was probably called "Extreme Sticky Stuff". Okay, if you absolutely adore both "Rag Doll" and "Unskinny Bop" you might love this song, but to me this sounds a bit too obvious.

To wash away the bad taste of "Unsexy", the next song should have been a killer, but... "Kick Down The Barricades" might have the honour of being the title track, but that doesn't help, it's just very average. The acoustic-tinged "Shake Me Back Home" is a little better, sounding like a combination of Tyketto and Poison. I also like "High On Love", which sounds like it could've been on White Lion's "Big Game".The closing track "Six In The Red" isn't too bad either, reminding me of Ratt and Kix.

This is not the album I hoped it would have been, but it can still be recommended to Hair Metal enthusiastics. Julian doesn't mess around with modern influences for sure, this is very authentic sounding 80'ies stuff. There's just way too many "okay" tracks, a couple of dodgy ones and not enough killer for me, I'm afraid.

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