L.A. Guns – “Renegades” (Golden Robot Records)
Battle Helm Rating
Born out’ve Sunset Strip in the 80s and synonymous with legendary names like Guns ‘N’ Roses, Mötley Crüe, Poison and Ratt is L.A. Guns, featuring singer Phil Lewis and guitarist Tracii Guns. Famed for their 1989 platinum certified album “Cocked & Loaded”, the recording line-up included drummer Steven Riley (W.A.S.P., Keel) and bassist Kelly Nickels (Faster Pussycat, Virgin Steele) in what is regarded as the ‘classic’ version of the band. Fast forward three decades, and Lewis and Guns are suing Riley over the use of the L.A. Guns name in what is now 2 versions of the band! “Renegades” has been issued by the Steven Riley version and while it may be obvious to many that only the Lewis and Guns version is the only true version of L.A. Guns, Riley’s band should not be discounted, not withstanding the name issues, because it features one helluva line-up. A major highlight has to be the return of Kelly Nickels in pretty much a historic moment given he has been amiss for 20 years (!), and is joined by guitarist Scott Griffin, who of course played bass in L.A. Guns from 2009 to 2011 and again in 2014 to 2016. And so to the key question – who is fronting this awesome line-up? Well, many may not have heard of him but Kurt Frohlich is no unknown either, having sung for Faster Pussycat in 2006, and here he adds in his guitar talents onto the 10 amazing tracks worthy of the band’s name, which incidentally Riley co-owns with Guns. “Renegades” doesn’t just kick ass, it does it like it did during the heyday of the Strip in every regard from the music to the lyrics and most of all, the sound, that injects a memories old fire and an atmosphere taking you right back to your youth. The energy is awesome, and as the pulsating riffs and deep bass hook you in on ‘Lost Boys’, Frohlich’s powerful performance resonating passion shows you why he got the gig as he builds the emotion in leading to the massive, anthemic chorus that could shake a stadium. Those of you that can’t forget the memory of ‘The Ballad Of Jayne’, which was L.A. Guns’ big hit penned by Nickels, will no doubt be taken by ‘You Can’t Walk Away’, which is no coincidence with its soft acoustics and crying guitars, tear jerking harmonies and Frohlich’s tender lead all taking you down memory lane once more, complete with bunches of tissues. Thumping in through Riley’s drums on the brooding ‘All That You Are’, the riffs snake as the vocals tease and harmonies croon towards the bombastic kick ass chorus just made for air punching and singing aloud! Bringing this superb release to a fast and fiery culmination in ‘Don’t Wanna Know’, the pumping rock ‘n’ roll riffs, Sunset warbles and rhyming lyrics delivered through Frohlich’s youthful vocal style definitely evoke memories of L.A.Guns in their glory days and as Griffin’s screaming solo tears into your bleeding heart, you gotta be thankful that the evening glow on the Strip hasn’t fully set thanks to Riley & Co.