Put simply, nobody does it like Crazy Lixx. If it’s eighties-inflected hard rock you’re after, Danny Rexon and whoever happens to be backing him at any given time are your men; The sheer eye for detail, dedication to the cause of hair metal and flairful execution mark Rexon out as utterly one of a kind.

And on Ruff Justice, the fifth Crazy Lixx album, all those facts are underlined once again.

As someone who lived his teenaged years through the glory days of hair metal, it’s amazing that anyone younger than me should even care about those far off times, but by God I’m glad they do, because on songs like the utterly titanic XIII it’s like the last thirty years never happened and I’m transported back, ooh, I don’t know, to the dancefloor of Bogiez nightclub in Cardiff sometime in 1987. Like a phantasmagoric mashup of Paul Stanley and Desmond Child’s Shocker soundtrack and something by Leatherwolf from their Street Ready opus, this song will have the hairs on the back of your neck standing to attention for days on end after just the one listen; A near perfect recreation of that most precious of commodities – the hair metal film soundtrack contribution – it’s combination of clanging ride cymbal/huge backing vox/improbable key changes and soaring choruses had me out of my seat on first hearing and I haven’t stopped singing it in my head since. Pure hard-rocking nirvana.

But that’s just one song; If I’m honest almost every other song on the damn record has the same effect on me to lesser or greater effect, from the semi-balladic Walk the Wire (think: Icon meets Def Leppard – I’m not making this up) through to full blooded rockers like Wild Child this band has all the basses covered and then some. And the main man? Well, Danny Rexon has never sounded better, of that I’m sure. Like a wet dream-fuellin’ mix of Harry Hess, Jeff Paris, Paul Stanley and Joe Elliott there is quite literally nothing this man can’t turn into a stadium-devouring, chart-topping colossus just by flicking his vocal chords, the magnificently-layered backing vocals on every chorus tilting everything he sings into the red zone. It’s head-swimmingly good stuff, far better than any of the bands from back in the day could manage now, that’s for sure; and if there’s any justice in the world then Ruff Justice is going to see Crazy Lixx joining those bands in the hair metal pantheon in 2017. If you need further proof, or something to persuade you this isn’t just a load of empty hyperbole, then have a listen to Ruff Justice‘s big ballad, the quite stupendous If It’s Love. And then tell me I’m wrong…

It’s hard to adequately put into words just how special an artist Danny Rexon is, or how good a band Crazy Lixx are, but even if you’re not a hair metal diehard like me, that much should become apparent after just a couple of listens to Ruff Justice. Make it your business to get closely acquainted with this album – I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Ruff Justice is released by Frontiers Music on April 21, by which time hopefully Gavin Strickmann will have calmed down a bit – Ed.