on 28 January 2013
Rocky Shades is still probably best known as the frontman of UK glam-metal nearly-runners Wrathchild, who went to the edge then self-destructed in a shower of sparks, mismanagement, record label idiocy and in-fighting.
Now, too many years down the line, Shades is back with the first album from his new outfit, Wildside Riot. And it deserves to raise a few eyebrows.
Very wisely, Shades has kept his motivation and drive intact by surrounding himself with a band of talented, young guns who have helped realise his vision of a band for the 21st century, not exhuming a 20th century corpse. This is about moving forward, not looking back.
Casting superstition to the wind, Shades weighs in with 13 tracks of modern glam metal. Although unmistakeably a British rock record, it's impossible to avoid comparisons with US counterparts. The vibe is rough and ready, very much like a modernised 'Too Fast For Love' or 'Look What The Cat Dragged In', all gonzo riffs, thick and sturdy as an oak tree's roots, stomping drums, wah-ed out solos and rammed full of fists-in-the-air shoutalong choruses ('Wildside Riot', 'That's What Sunday Mornings Are For', 'Glitter Tramps').
There are softer moments too ('Babe I Gotta Go', 'My Paradise') which take the foot off the accelerator, but lose none of the power. There's even a bit of Loverboy-style funk on 'Angel On My Back', complete with some Diamond Dave-style scatting from Rocky.
Sure, there are those who think a bit of fun party metal is all a bit immature and uncool, but if that's how you feel, you're on the wrong page of Amazon. 'No Second Take' isn't going to bring world peace or cure poverty, but neither are Coldplay - and at least Shades isn't pretending anything otherwise. Age, too, has brought a maturity to the party - these days, Shades wants to be here not just for a good time, but for a long time too. So perhaps the single greatest achievement of this album is that, far from trading on past glories and flogging dead horses, it stands up to scrutiny in 2013. Of its type, you'll be lucky to hear many better.
on 7 February 2013
I have been waiting a long time for this album to come out. My intention was to give it one listen then write a glowing review as I would have done in '84 for Wrathchilds Stakk Attakk if the internet existed. So I gave it a listen. Clearly it's Rocky Shades unmistakable voice on vocals & there were some good tunes but none quite so catchy that I wanted to sing along. So I decided to delay my review.
I've listened a couple of more times & the fact the tunes aren't as catchy as anything by 80s Wrathchild has become its apparent strength rather than a weakness. Sure I didn't feel the need to sing along but now, many hours after listening to it, I can be doing something mundane & unrelated when I'm aware of a tune going around in my head & realise it's one from this album.
Rockys vocals will need no introduction to anyone who's heard 80s Wrathchild. I'm aware he has amongst other things over the years performed as a David Lee Roth tribute & as someone who has never really listened much to Van Halen this new album sounds like a lot of those influences have crept in here. The music lacks the high speed ferocity of Rockys better known work, however nearly 30 years later is that a bad thing? The rest of the band are clearly skilled musicians who just seem able to flow with his lead & guitar solos will please any rock fan.
Any criticisms? Yes & it's a biggy so I've dropped a star for it. The last song "There Is A Bullet For Each Of You". I can see this turning into a PR nightmare the next time some random shooter goes on a rampage & turns out to be a rock fan. Hope it never happens but.....
Anyway do yourself a favour, buy this & go see them if they play near you.
Edited 22/02/13 - Please see the comment added to this review by the artist before taking any notice of me.
on 11 February 2013
You cannot talk about Wildside Riot without talking about Wrathchild (UK variation), so lets get the obvious facts out of the way. Wrathchild were an 80s UK based glam band who mixed the 80s glam stylings of early Motley Crue, and mixed it with a mix of 70s UK glam in the vein of The Sweet or Gary Glitter (without the dodgy PC hard drive that is). Wrathchild released four albums back in their heyday, Trash Queens, Stakk Attakk, The Biz Suxx and Delirium. Each album showed a progression in both sound and maturity, that made each album sound different to its predecessor.
So what you have here is former Wrathchild frontman, Rocky Shades and his new band of young guns. This certainly gives you a definite mix of yesterday and today in its sound. Shades' vocals will certainly draw comparisons to the glory days, but musically its a different beast altogeher. A song like Broken toys is certainly a throwback of sorts, with a very similar guitar and drum sound to the old days, but even that still doesnt sound like someone trying to sound like they did in the past, more a case of taking elements of that sound and updating it.
Elsewhere on the album its a very different beast. Its still UK gutter glam, but with a bit more crunch and bite than old time Wrathchild.
Some very catchy songs on here, some great musicianship and Rocky sounds like he never went away.
What else is good with this album is that it clocks in at 13 tracks in total. With so many bands leaving us with only 10 songs per album, its nice to get a decent length album as well.
The sound and production is also spot on, unlike the so called Wrathchild album that was released a few years ago without the prince of lust on vocals.
The sound on that album was so quiet, with a production job that sounded like a cat farting in a bucket. This shows what can be achieved if you make the effort.
Stakkattakk II contained some decent songs, albeit sounding nothing like Wrathchild, but was totally destroyed by piss poor production and mastering.
Even with better mastering and production, it just was not a Wrathchild album, but neither is this. Its more than that, its an entirely new entity, not trying to trade on past glories, but that said, legacy wise, this is the true successor to the classic Wrathchild albums.
Its not an album for everyone (what is?), but for those who know what good time rock music is about, this is definitely worth a punt.
Can easily see this being in my top 10 of 2013.