L.A. Guns – ‘The Missing Peace’ (Frontiers Records) Print E-mail
CD Reviews
Written by Ben Hughes   
Friday, 29 September 2017 04:20

LA-GUNS-tmp-CoverThe glory days of the ‘80s sunset strip may be a distant memory for most, but some of those bands just refuse to die and it seems quite apt that a band who were known as the Hollywood Vampires in the late ’80 s are still kicking up dust in the face of their critics in 2017.

 

Yes, L.A. Guns have been around the block a few times, yet through different musical climates and various line-up changes, vocalist Phil Lewis and guitarist Tracii Guns have kept the good ship Guns afloat, albeit in different versions. Yes, remember that, for several years, there were two touring versions of L.A. Guns at the same time.

 

But that was then and this is now. ‘The Missing Peace’ is the 11th L.A. Guns studio album and reunites Lewis and Guns for the first time since ‘Waking The Dead’ in 2002 and that can only be a good thing. While fans will always hope for the classic line-up of the band to reform one day, to be honest they are not really missed here, as Michael Grant (guitar), Shane Fitzgibbon (Drums) and Johnny Martin (bass) do a grand job of backing up the duo to complete the 2017 version of L.A. Guns.

 

‘The Missing Peace’ harks back to the band’s glory days (or should that be daze?), when that debut self-titled album sounded so vital and so fresh in a sea of hairspray and cowboy boots fighting to be the next Guns n’ Roses.

 

The unmistakeable, high octane, raspy vocals of Phil Lewis have always been an acquired taste and I, for one, have always loved his voice. Put Tracii Guns fiery guitar histrionics in the mix and well, the duo certainly have chemistry.

 

L.A. Guns were always more punky and metallic than most hair metal bands of the time and one listen to first single ‘Speed’ was enough to pique my interest. Against all the odds, the songwriting partnership of Lewis and Guns have yet again captured that same raw, sleazy energy they had 30 years ago. With a classic Phil Lewis melody, metallic riffage and gang vocals, this could’ve easily been lifted from those early album sessions.

 

And it’s not just the cool album artwork that has me coming over all nostalgic, the whole album has that sort of feel to it, without seeming like they are just rehashing old ideas. If you are a fan of their classic period albums, or even the reunion albums, then there is something here for you.

 

 

From ‘70s style glam stomping anthems like ‘Baby Gotta Fever’ to ‘Cocked & Loaded’-style rockers like album opener ‘It’s All The Same To Me’, onto the Judas Priest style metallic riffage that opens the uber cool ‘Don’t Bring A Knife To A Gunfight’. The epic ‘Sticky Fingers’ has a hypnotic, eastern ‘Malaria’ meets ‘Electric Gypsy’ vibe to it, with a trademark ripping Tracii Guns guitar solo, one thing’s for certain, it’s sure good to have him back in the band.

 

The introspective title track is an album highlight. Acoustic Zep-style vibes blast into a sweeping, epic soundscape of a chorus. It’s a wild ride that takes you down and builds you up to a jaw-dropping guitar solo and proves this band still have what it takes.

 

L.A. Guns have always had a knack of penning a decent ballad or two and ‘The Missing Peace’ is nodifferent. ‘The Flood’s The Fault Of The Rain’ has a picked guitar riff not too dissimilar to GnR’s ‘Don’t Cry’ and an epic chord progression and a ripping, emotive solo finish the job nicely.

 

But it’s the beautiful ‘Christine’ that steals the show. The band turn the lights down low and spark up a candle and go for a bluesy 70’s vibe more akin to 3rd album ‘Hollywood Vampires’. It’s ‘Crystal Eyes’ meets ‘Ballad Of Jayne’ goodness. The double-tracked, higher octave lead vocals sound ace here, and Tracii shines on a solo stripped of effects.

 

The Hollywood Vampires has always been a good moniker for the band, and to be honest, it has never sounded more apt. Sounding invigorated and hungry, L.A. Guns seem to have gone full circle. While ‘The Missing Peace’ is not as strong or as instant as their classic albums, it is still a mighty fine album that gets better with each spin. A great attempt to recapture the sound of a band who epitomized 80’s sleaze metal, and they will always have a place in my heart.

 

‘The Missing Peace’ is released on Friday 13 October. You can get your copy HERE.

 

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