If you are not familiar with just who Man Raze is, it's Phil Collen of Def Leppard (guitar/vox), Paul Cook of the Sex Pistols (drums), and Simon Laffy of Girl (bass). "This Is" comes at you at break-neck speed. The rhythm is oh so Sex Pistol-like and the melodic vocals are definitely Def Leppard-ish in delivery. Driving guitar riffage and pounding drums lead the change on the commanding track "Turn It Up." The band takes an interesting turn on the reggae-style track "Runnin' Me Up." Even though the song sounds a little out of place with the ones before it, it it done quite well. The band takes a dark turn on "Spinning Out." The harmonies remain strong and the vocals inflect a hint of ZZ Top. "Skin Crawl" delivers a hook laden chorus with its 70s British rock sound. "Halo" could easily been on the latest Def Leppard release, as it mixes a little bit of rock with a bit of power pop.
Side-projects are always a bit of a gamble. People really expect another version of the band you're normally in. However, the point of a side-project is to do your own thing. That's exactly what Phil Collen manages to do with Man Raze. However, despite branching out into the punk, reggae, and the classic rock field on Surreal, Collen manages to capture some of the magic from his tenure with Def Leppard. The same goes for Cook and his drum work. I honestly thought Laffy was singing until I read the liner notes. I must say Collen's vocals are quite impressive and no doubt (with his guitar playing) played a part in Def Leppard success. If things don't work out with his day job (as if), Collen and his Man Raze cohorts have enough talent and inspiration to make it just as big.