Lucky Bastardz - 2010 - Bite Me, Dude
Another Italian release for us to review, and it's beginning to look like a new wave of rock n' roll to me.
1. Fire, Beers, Rock N' Roll
2. We Won't Let You Down
3. Sin City
4. Tale From The Land Of Mafia
5. Honour And Blood
6. The Ballad Of Kelly The Killer
7. Crawlin' Under Snakes
8. Black Hole
9. Rock This Town
11. Death All Day, Life All Nite
Lucky Bastardz hit us with an authentic Italian barroom rock n' roll record called Bite Me, Dude.
"Fire, Beers, Rock N' Roll" sets the pace for a high-tempo, technical but dirty hard rocking album. When the first riff kicks in, you know this is something good. This is technical rock that touches a metal nerve here and there, lyrics that are recognizable to all who were ever young and had to defend their musical choices at home, and a singer that belches like a whale.
The next song, "We Won't Let You Down" is probably inspired by "Hot For Teacher" by Van Halen, the thought that I heard that style before doesn't escape throughout the whole song. It's killer though, not a copy but more of a tribute to early Van Halen's style. There's plenty of attention to the chorus here, as well as in the previous song, and they're both guaranteed to be sung along on a show.
After two straight-forward rockers, it's on to "Sin City". Inspired by the comic series and the movie, the atmosphere takes a turn here, and the feel of the song sort of changes away from the previous drinking anthems. "Sin City" sounds harsher, grimmer, and feels just as the movie does. This might just be me, since I'm a big fan of the comics, but this is one of the better songs on the album in my opinion.
"Tale From The Land Of Mafia" is an acoustic musical and spoken-word intermezzo, and it's nothing short of excellent. It sounds just about as Italian as the old gangster movies do, which is exactly what the band tries to bring here. Mission succeeded!
Followed by this great introduction to their homeland, we get "Honour And Blood", building on the subject of Mafia. Great riffage, great lyrics (Honour and Blood, no way to forgive - Join the clan and kiss the hand - You'll never be free again) and great musical work. This is the epic piece that convinced me that Lucky Bastardz are worth every penny.
"The Ballad Of Kelly The Killer" is another break in the album. A tale of criminal grief is told, that might just be another revenge movie script. The musical backbone of this song is awesome once again, as it slowly builds up to a climax and explodes into the last few minutes of a song, ending with "The Killer" giving her own version of what caused her to snap.
At this point, the Bastardz must have realized that they still had some rocking to do as well. "Crawlin' Under Snakes" is a little more groove-focused than the last songs, and isn't that in-your-face as "Sin City" and the rest is, but the musical break makes it as interesting as they were.
"Black Hole" is another song based on a piece of literature, telling a gloomy tale of a life gone wrong (but basically, it's got a killer chorus and stands out on that basis as well).
"Rock This Town" musically has the biggest feel of the album, it sounds like this song was written for something more than a sleazy rock bar. It's got a great song structure though, a chorus that's written to get lots of people shouting along, and the main riff is perfect to build a song of this size around.
The Bastardz pick up the pace again with "Drunkard". It doesn't get more barroom than this, with that boogie riff that flows into a stomping chorus. I haven't mentioned it before, but just about every song is completed by a solo that doesn't cling to you that much, but is still a great piece of work.
Lucky Bastardz hide their influences well, but I've gotten vibes from the greatest (Van Halen, 50's rock n' roll legends, some Aerosmith here and there) and it's sounding like they took it to their own level rather than blindly copying. All the more respect to them for pulling it off!
Since a ballad in the strict sense of the word is no option, the record is closed by "Death All Day, Life All Nite", which is a heavier version of a classic bluesy rock standard. Amazingly, given Geppo's heavy vocals and the overall fast technical music, this is a very dance-able song. Finishing in style, that's just what they do...