It could have been worse I suppose. Whenever an old ‘star’ decides he wants to be seen as being relevant musically, the hackles of right-thinking men and women everywhere quite rightly start rising in prospect of the coming fiasco. Don’t get me wrong, Dee Snider is as entitled to shit over his legacy as much as the next man, but when he prefaces the release of his third solo album by proudly announcing in interviews that his constituent audience – heavy metal fans – aren’t going to like it, you’ve got to worry, right?
Actually, that was a very clever move on Snider’s part; by instantly removing any raised expectations he’s effectively able to release whatever he wants – even a stereo recording of appalling flatulence, should he be so minded – safe in the knowledge that no-one is going to feel let down. Everybody wins!
And whilst Dee does at least have a better idea of what’s current than many of his ilk – he’s more than happy to include a whole host of post-hardcore, sub Bon Jovi who-oh-ohs when required, ensuring that a fair amount of the material on offer sounds like a Black Veil Brides demo recorded with a more strident singer – he’s not particularly adept at bringing anything new to the style.
Consequently the album is rammed to the gunwhales with inoffensive bagatelles like Believe and Rule the World; X-factor ‘rock’ songs full to the brim with empty carbs but not much fibre, all gone from the brain as soon as the last chords ring into the ether. His version of the Nine Inch Nails chestnut Head Like a Hole (like many eighties rockers, Snider still feels compelled to show that his take on the sort of music that killed good-time-rock n’roll is just as good as the real thing; I’m surprised Smells Like Teen Spirit didn’t get a run out), sticks out from the pack merely because it’s a well written song rather than by the force of Snider’s performance, which is a shame and something of a lost opportunity. Elsewhere his piano-driven take on We’re Not Gonna Take It, rather than being a supremely post-modern deconstruction of a timeless hair metal anthem, actually sounds like a not bad piece of early nineties Savatage balladry. Which probably wasn’t the idea behind the recording.
At the end of the day Snider is too likeable for anyone to find this album truly offensive; if he wants to leave his old fans behind then fair enough – but it’s hard to see any new, young acolytes flocking to his banner after hearing this.