Out of oblivion with glimmer and clangor, heavy rockers from Michigan reclaim their fame, if not fortune.
Not to be mistaken for their British namesakes, this bunch of rock ‘n’ roll roughnecks hailed from Ann Arbor and used to rock hard, with the band’s 1988 debut “Name Your Poison” piquing the interest in the American East, but two years down the line, during the recording of a second album, the ensemble broke up, and the “Shoot To Kill” tapes apparently disappeared – to be found, restored, mixed and mastered three decades later. The result was worth the effort: while there’s no too polished a finish on a few of the ten tracks on offer, all the songs shine to the effect of making it a lost glam-metal artifact which is able to sway contemporary arenas.
That’s why the protracted intro to opener “Obsession” shouldn’t worry the listener, as the vignetted guitar riff can build a perfect tension on-stage, and if the nervous vocals come buried underneath the piece’s instrumental filigree, “Stay Alive” will reveal the full beauty of Cristina Samonte’s voice and Matt Singleton’s six strings, the organ and faux orchestra elevating the folksy ballad to the celestial realm even when the drift gets heavier. And whereas the jagged jive behind “Gypsy (I Thought I Told You)” and the reckless drive of “The Censor” have punk sneer ingrained in their groove, the electrified surface of the Celtica-tinctured “Tir Na Nog” and epic “Sanctuary” conceal the profoundness the Americans failed to realize back in the day.
However, the collective sound rather triumphant on “Eyes of England” and sharp on the record’s infectious titular cut. Sadly, their celebratory hour arrived too late – but better late than never: it’s good to have this album heard.