Monday, December 12, 2016

Skid Row - Slave To The Grind

Album cover: There's something really interesting about the artwork here. If you open up the CD booklet you get to see this very (dare I say it) Picasso type of scene with the main protagonist being forced into a grave.  The vivid use of light and shadow depicts a very grim reminder of how easily people can get caught up in the "rat race" and become victims to the workings of modern society. 

Overall album:  Slave To The Grind is without a doubt one of the best hard rock and metal records out there.  The tightness of the music coupled with a great amount of riff crunches and swirling guitar leads make this a must have for any rock aficionado.  The sheer weight and diversity of each song along with the stellar musicianship, have ensured that this album by Skid Row has well stood the test of time. 


Songs: 

Monkey Business: The slow guitar picks and the whispering vocals by Sebastian in the initial few seconds may fool the listener into thinking that this is a soft number.  That couldn't be further from the truth.  Though the start has a slight country vibe to it, the song itself soon launches forward with sledgehammer force and literally bowls you over.  The main riff is so memorable and Dave and Scotti really display their guitar virtuosity out here. 

Slave To The Grind: An ominous riffs greets the listener and soon the band is taking you on this mayhem journey through a world ruled by chaos.  Sebastian's vocal delivery on this one is exceptional and he leads the charge in protesting against a system of life that isn't healthy in anyway. 

The Threat: Hard, heavy and a juggernaut that just rumbles along, is what sums up this track.  But its Rachel and Rob that shine here, serving as a pivot that keeps the energy in line.  

Quicksand Jesus: A very offbeat and interesting track that combines a number of electric and acoustic elements.  Most fans consider this to be one of the biggest highlights of the album and I couldn't agree more.  It feels like there are a lot of layers to be found within the music and lyrics here.  In short, deep is what it is. 

Psycho Love: Rachel owns this piece and plays a massive role, spurring Dave and Scotti into action.  The time signatures are particularly interesting here. 

Get The Fuck Out!: A short and hard rocker.  This gives one a great glimpse into what the sound of 80's rock was all about.  Sebastian is his sarcastic best and delivers a taunting vocal performance here. 

Livin' On A Chain Gang: This one honestly feels like the soundtrack piece for a movie or documentary of sorts.  It just pulls you in and refuses to let you go. 

Creepshow: Rachel once more owns this piece and takes center stage.  But Dave and Scotti aren't to be left behind and dish out some heavy riffing.  There's a bit of a funky element in the riff I might add, which makes it even more appealing.  Rob keeps the band really tight here. 

In A Darkened Room:  Wow! That opening solo and the flow of the song take you to another world altogether.  Sebastian shines and reminds you as to why he's such a great performer.  This again is one of the biggest highlights of the album and fans just naturally gravitate to this one. 

Riot Act: Another short number but this packs so much power and energy it's crazy.  I'd say there seems to be a strong punk element flowing through this piece.  Dave and Scotti take no prisoners. 

Mudkicker: A peculiar track that takes a few listens to really get into.  But having said so, you begin to appreciate the balance it provides to the record. 

Wasted Time: What a great way to close an already epic record.  The sense of loss and mourning just flow from Sebastian.  Plus, it makes you appreciate what strong musicians all the members of Skid Row are.  Heartfelt and deeply emotional, this number calls for repeated listens.

Ultimate Album Song: In A Darkened Room


The Band: Dave Sabo (Guitars), Rachel Bolan (Bass), Sebastian Bach (Vocals), Rob Affuso (Drums) Scotti Hill (Guitars) 



Image source: cdn.sonicomusica.com

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