Marya Roxx - 'Payback Time' (DR2) Print E-mail
CD Reviews
Written by Gaz E   
Saturday, 20 November 2010 05:00

MaryaRoxxPaybacktimealbum'Payback Time', the Kevin Shirley produced debut album from Marya Roxx, finally arrives, with 'time' being the operative word as it seems to have taken an age for this album to see its official release.


While Marya's past may well have a foot in the pop world with her stint as bass player and singer in the girl band Vanilla Ninja in her native Estonia, her departure from the band before they competed in the Eurovision Song Contest, and with just a whiff of scandal about it, leaves her firmly rooted in the rock 'n' roll camp. And if that fact were ever in doubt then people need only scan the names linked to her and the recording of this album : Kevin Shirley, famed producer who has worked with the likes of Iron Maiden, Aerosmith, Slayer and Journey; Paul Crook, currently playing guitar with Meat Loaf after stints working with Anthrax and former Skid Row vocalist Sebastian Bach; Derek Sherinian, the keyboardist who has worked with the likes of Kiss and Alice Cooper and is currently a member of Black Country Communion alongside Glenn Hughes, Jason Bonham and Joe Bonamassa; Brian Tichy, drummer with the likes of Foreigner and Whitesnake and Scott Metaxas who has played bass with bands like Nuclear Assault - quite a pedigree, I'm sure you'll agree.


Any questions of why such experienced figures in the rock world were happy to get involved with a former pop figure from the Baltic Region of Northern Europe were answered with the release of Marya's '21?!' EP in 2009. Featuring three hard-hitting tunes and an inspired cover of the song 'Nothing Going On' originally by Swedish rap metal outfit Clawfinger, the EP proved to be the perfect appetizer for the main course that is 'Payback Time' just seems like we've been waiting an age to eat....


The four tracks featured on that EP all appear on this long-awaited debut album but any thoughts that maybe the best song load had been blown early are kicked out of my head with album opener 'Time To Run'. A huge slab of riff from the hands of Paul Crook introduces this song to the world and it proceeds to tear my speakers a new one. The recruitment of Crook to this band appears to be a masterstroke as his six string slaying carries almost as much of the weight of this project as Marya herself.


'Oh Yeah', previously featured on the EP, and 'Strong' offer a great one-two before '21' kicks in. Housing a memorable hook and another humongous riff, this song may be currently regarded as the Marya Roxx calling card but there may well be songs on this album to usurp that honour. 'Filth', with its chanted mantra, has a good stab at it but it is the song 'Loverboy' that probably nicks it. Loverboy, the Canadian melodic rockers, may well have provided one of the longest forty-five minutes of my life when I saw them support Def Leppard in 1988 but, thankfully, the song of the same name takes less than three and a half minutes to provide a million times the entertainment. Mixing yet more swathes of heavy as fuck guitar with an unashamedly retro hook, this song would be all over rock radio and TV stations if it was recorded by some newbie in-vogue pretenders like Halestorm. Believe me, Marya Roxx - and this song - are way better.


Title track 'Payback Time' opens with a riff that sounds like 'Harem Of Scorpions' from the monolithic 'Hail Destroyer' album by Cancer Bats (just in case you weren't sure if Crook's guitars were heavy enough) guaranteeing that the album doesn't tail off towards its end, although closing track 'Boneyard' is a slightly more melodic, moody piece with a definite 80s pop rock feel to it.


The early promise of the '21?!' EP has been fulfilled with 'Payback Time' for sure. It may not be a world beating slab of rock but it certainly contains enough class and quality to kick down some doors, break some windows and rattle some bones. A severe bout of touring behind this record will do it no harm and a couple of videos produced for the songs 'Time To Run' and 'Loverboy' to compliment the cool one already out there for '21' could see Marya Roxx breakout in a number of territories.


Big guitars, big hooks, good looks - that should be enough to guarantee success but, unfortunately, in the current depressed state of the music industry, money is all that talks these days. Well, someone should throw a decent amount in the direction of Marya Roxx because I have listened to a lot of female fronted rock and metal this past year and 'Payback Time' is the one album of its ilk that has impressed me most.