CD review ALCATRAZZ ‘Born Innocent’

Alcatrazz was formed in 1983 by Graham Bonnett, Jimmy Waldo and Gary Shea. The three guys had always the pleasure of working together with exquisite guitarists, just to mention Yngwie Malmsteen and Steve Vai, both providing riff-power in the ’80s. Unfortunately things came to an end with Alcatrazz in 1987 with the band splitting-up

Thanks to the willpower of Graham Bonnett, who reawaken the band in the early 2000th, Alcatrazz step by step returned to the scene. And not only that some live albums have been released over the last two years, the band also worked on a new studio album, which will see the light of day end of July.

‘Born Innocent’ is Alcatrazz’ first studio album in 34 years and features the three founding members, being part of the current line-up. The tradition of stellar guitarists finds a continuation too with Joe Stump, an assistant professor for guitar at Berklee Collage in Boston. Last but not least and not to forget is Mark Benquechea, who completes Alcatrazz 2020 and provides the solid heartbeat to the 13 songs that made it on the album.

The honor of leading off the album goes to the title track, a good choice. A furious guitar releases the brake in a second and it’s no less than Chris Impellitteri, who has a guest appearance. What follows the furious start is a very well crafted Hard Rock song, that includes all Alcatrazz trademarks.

‘Polar Bear’ is next and it’s a song with lyrics built on an unusual storyline. It’s about Eskimo’s in the old days who, when getting weak, took their lives by sitting in the snow and freeze to death. Their corpse, eaten by polar bears, was the final contribution to the wellbeing of their tribe. What a story. Musically the song can delight from start to finish and the same goes for the next Hard Rock anthem called ‘Finn McCool’. Melody rules with this uptempo song and considering the chorus, the tune is a real highlight on the album. The tune’s an ode to Irish warriors and the Irish touch fits the music very well.

‘I Am King’ belongs to the same melodic category and features another guest, Bob Kulick. ‘Warth Lane’ is a track that needs a bit of time to evolve. Penned by no less than Dario Mollo, the song blossoms after a while and grows to an intense musical piece on ‘Born Innocent’. Mentioning guests, ‘Born Innocent’ comprises of many contributors. Steve Vai for example wrote the more complex ‘Dirty Like City’, which grooves well and also takes a bit of time before unveiling its beauty.

With ‘Paper Flags’ the straight into the face approach takes over again. Fast and furious the song doesn’t take any prisoners and the guitar solo, provided by Annihilator mainman Jeff Waters, acts like the icing on this metal cake.

To sum up: ‘Born Innocent’ is the anticipated new Alcatrazz album. It features excellent music, written and recorded by passionate and experienced musicians that still follow their heart, which is driven by the beat of Rock’n’Roll.

Rating: 8 out of 10.

Tracklist:

  1. Born Innocent
  2. Polar Bear
  3. Finn McCool
  4. We Still Remember
  5. London 1666
  6. Dirty Like The City
  7. I Am The King
  8. Something That I Am Missing
  9. Paper Flags
  10. The Wound Is Open
  11. Body Beautiful
  12. Warth Lane
  13. For Tony

Label: Silver Lining Music

Genre: Hard Rock

Release Date EU: July 31st, 2020

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