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Music - Album Review - Michael Monroe - Blackout States


Michael Monroe - Blackout States


01. This Ain`t No Love Song
02. Old King`s Road
03. Goin' Down With The Ship
04. Keep Your Eye On You
05. The Bastard's Bash
06. Good Old Bad Days
07. R.L.F.
08. Blackout States
09. Under The Northern Lights
10. Permanent Youth
11. Dead Hearts On Denmark Street
12. Six Feet In The Ground
13. Walk Away


Hard Rock

Released By / Year

Spinefarm / 2015

Album Review

"Growing older gracefully
No, it ain't the thing for me
I remain in my permanent youth"

One Word Review: Spirited

Even if I am way too late for the party, I have been listening to a lot of Hanoi Rocks lately and enjoying the hell out of it. Clearly, they were one of those amazing bands that somehow never appeared on my radar before now, disbanded and all.

Fortunately their lead singer, Michael Monroe has a solo career, 9 albums strong, and is still touring and putting out albums, the latest of which is Blackout States, a highly potent mix of hard rock power, attitude, melody and all-out enjoyment of life. The album is, simply put, a damn good time.

The lyrics range from comments on life, fond memories of past friendships and all-out partying. Everything rings true and is delivered with total conviction and a great sense of humor. The common denominators are essentially being true to yourself and enjoying life on your own terms.

Among the songs, I have many favorites, but Permanent Youth in particular stands out with a stupendously melodic core, exemplified by a hug-able sing-a-long chorus, heartfelt lyrics and a simple, rocking groove. The acoustic guitar in the chorus, a saxophone solo and the addition of a harmonica in the second chorus, is the icing on a sweetly layered cake. Even the vintage background photo in the cover speaks to the soul harbored in this song.

Other ripping songs include Old King's Road, which has to be absolutely brilliant in a live situation, Goin' Down With The Ship, which feels like the ultimate invitation to drink a beer with your mates and this band, Good Old Bad Days, where an ironic twist underlines the lyrics and song in a splendid way, and the all-out smasher R.L.F. where the emphasis is on pure fun.

But seriously, pretty much every song is a winner. Like the infectious title track, where I can't stop nodding my head along to the groove and in spite of the lyrics, feel the need for just one more beer.

The production is excellent and delivers a strong, powerful sound in a focused sound stage, where lead vocals, drums, saxophone and bass are centered and layered, with guitars and background vocals spread wide. There is a strong crunch to the guitars of Steve Conte and Rich Jones, a solid punch by Karl Rockfist (Rosqvist, Rockfist... excellent) on the drums, a nice deep chugging groove to Sami Yaffa's superbly detailed bass and up front and center Michael Monroe's vocals tie it all together into a very special package. The feeling I get while listening to the album is that of a band, who totally enjoy what they are doing and that vibe is essential to the album.

Walk Away ends what is my best discovery in a long time, with fervor and passion. Now it is time to discover this guy's back catalogue. If you like hard rock and somehow has missed Hanoi Rocks and Michael Monroe, you've got something special in store.

Favorite Songs: Permanent Youth, Blackout States, Old King's Road, Goin' Down With The Ship, Under the Northern Lights, Keep Your Eye On you, Walk Away, This Ain't No Love Song, Good Old Bad Days.

Written By Steen
Online: Thursday, January 7, 2016

Video Section

Old King`s Road