Skid Row - Thickskin
So finally it has arrived, the comeback album from legendary rockers Skid Row. And for those of you that might have forgotten who they are, let me remind you by telling that it was them who made such great songs as: Youth Gone Wild, 18 And Life, Slave To The Grind and Wasted Time around the beginning of the nineties.
And now that they are back I had no expectations what so ever on their new album, mostly since their charismatic leadvocalist Sebastian Bach is replaced with the to me unknown singer Johnny Solinger. And I must say that I was pleasantly surprised with what I heard. The album kicks of with the raw and groovy track New Generation that lands right somewhere in-between of the albums Slave To The Grind (1991) and the album that passed many by, Subhuman Race (1995).
So far I'm reassured that they still can kick it in the old-fashioned way, only then to be surprised with what is following with the next three tracks on the album, all of them midtempo with great melodies and melodic choruses. But the first time I heard them my first reaction was that it sounded much like Nickelback or Staind, and that gave me a little shock, could this be possible? Well, not really, after listening to them once more I found that beneath the surface the significant Skid Row riffing was still there, but the influence of contemporary American hard rock seems to be there as well, nicely wrapped up in the typical Skid Row aggressive style.
Of the twelve tracks there is a couple more that goes in the same style as the ones just mentioned. But those tracks that really gets me going are rougher ones, like the non-compromisingly Thickskin, the heavy track Lamb and of course the up-hotted version of their old hit, the ballad I Remember You. Now it is called I Remember You Two and is no longer a ballad, now it is more like a punkversion of the song, and I am loving it. In my opinion this is one helluva comeback for Skid Row, at least to me they have proved that they are still to be reckoned with. And since Rachel Bolan and Dave "The Snake" Sabo still stands for the most of the songwriting I find that there really was no need to worry.
Johnny Solinger is just as good singer as Bach, so there is no lacking in that department, his voice is not that different and even he isn't as high pitch I find his voice to be more solid. Also new to the band since the last record is former member of the band Saigon Kick, Phil Varone, that is replacing Rob Affuso on the drums. The material is 50/50 with midtempo and ballads as well as the harder and rougher tracks, and even if the songwriting feels more matured it is still Skid Row with the typical guitarlines and riffing as well as the melodic melodies. All completed with a raw soundproduction that brings a live feeling to the album Thickskin.