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Crazy Lixx – Riot Avenue (Album Review)

Crazy Lixx – Riot Avenue
(2012, Frontiers Records)

1. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot … 3:42
2. Young Blood … 3:47
3. Riot Avenue … 3:58
4. Fire It Up … 3:49
5. Downtown … 5:18
6. In The Night … 4:27
7. Church Of Rock … 4:04
8. Heatseeker … 3:01
9. Sweet, Bad & Beautiful … 3:47
10. Be Gone … 3:38
11. Only The Dead Know … 6:19

Band:
Danny Rexon – Vocals
Andy Dawson – Guitar
Edd Liam – Guitar
Loke Rivano – Bass
Joel Cirera – Drums

Sweden’s Crazy Lixx have returned with their third album Riot Avenue. I’ve never heard their Loud Minority debut but I think it’s safe to say this band is getting better with each release. 2010’s New Religion was a good album that’s worth listening to but ultimately it did not have a lasting impact on me. Riot Avenue is a different story. As good as New Religion was, the songs on Riot Avenue are much stronger as the band continues to draw influences from the likes of Def Leppard, KISS, Buckcherry, AC/DC and Motley Crue.

I feel like the band is taking baby steps to not be as cheesy as a lot of the ’80s influenced bands are. Yes, these guys obviously are inspired by that decade of excess and will appeal to fans of that same era but I detect a slight gritty edge this time around as the band becomes less Def Leppard and more Buckcherry. It’s not a major change of direction from New Religion but I think it’s worth noting and they’ve certainly gotten a bit heavier as they’ve added a second guitarist. The AC/DC influence seems somewhat new but it’s apparent on “Downtown”.

“Whiskey Tango Foxtrot” (WTF?) is the perfect opener. Fun, ballsy rocker that kicks things off right. I’m having trouble deciding whether that or “Church Of Rock” is my favorite track. Nipping at the heels of those two songs are the album’s closing track — the ballad “Only The Dead Know”. The rest is high energy rock ‘n’ roll that is sure to please all hard rockers that have a taste for glam, sleaze and pop metal.

It seems standard from Frontier Records these days but the production is great. I love all the backing vocals going on here and Danny Rexon does a great on lead vocals.

While New Religion proved to me that Crazy Lixx are a good band, it’s Riot Avenue that is beginning to cement the band’s reputation as one of the best melodic hard rock groups on the scene today. Riot Avenue is one of the year’s highlights so far for sure.

Highlights: “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot”, “Riot Avenue”, “Church Of Rock”, “Heatseeker”, “Sweet, Bad & Beautiful”, “Only The Dead Know”

http://www.crazylixx.com
http://www.facebook.com/crazylixx
http://www.frontiers.it

Buy the album at Amazon.com

Looking Forward to in 2012…

2012 is shaping up to be another spectacular year for rock music. This is a year that is going to see releases from KISS, Judas Priest, Aerosmith, Van Halen and Black Sabbath. WHAT YEAR IS THIS ?!?

In no particular order, here’s what I’m definitely picking up in 2o12:

AcceptStalingrad (April)
Accept really blew me away with Blood of the Nations. The band has proven there is life without Udo. In fact, I think many people would prefer the current line-up over the classic Accept roster at this point.

Crazy Lixx – Riot Avenue (April)
These solid modern glam-metallers are currently in the studio working on their 3rd album.

KISS – Monster (Spring)
Obviously, this is the album I’m looking forward to most. Sonic Boom was a triumphant return to the studio for these guys, now that the wheels are well-oiled, I think Monster has potential to be even better.

SunstormEmotional Fire (February)
I missed out on the last Sunstorm despite good reviews. In the past year I’ve come to appreciate AOR/melodic rock more so I think I’m going to try out this Joe Lynn Turner-fronted side project when it’s released.

Crashdiet
No date yet set by these sleaze rockers but they are supposedly in the writing process now. I’m guessing sometime in the Fall.

Black Sabbath (Fall/Winter)
Another highly anticipated album for me because I’m really curious what it’s going to sound like. I’m not a big Ozzy fan, either as a solo artist or in Sabbath. I’d much rather see Iommi w/ Geezer go on to new projects (Iommi needs to give Tony Martin another call) but I still will be pre-ordering this one. My expectations aren’t all that high though given who is singing. I feel like he and Sharon are going to bring everyone else down to his mediocre level. Still, it’s exciting to know that new Iommi riffs and solos are coming.

Aerosmith (May)
So much prima donna drama in this camp over the last 5 years or so but hopefully that’s gone long enough to give us a new album. Granted,  I don’t really expect much from these guys in terms of, well… anything anymore. They’re kind of a joke at this point but with the legendary Jack Douglas back on as producer, I have no doubts that he’ll drag something out of them that’s better than the last studio album (2001’s Just Push Play).

Van Halen (February 7)
Geez, it was starting to look like the new Chinese Democracy, wasn’t it? No album title has been released yet but a release date has been and the first single will be released on January 10. Van Halen is another band that has become a joke over the years (despite the last tour getting rave reviews) but I have a good feeling about this album. The first album with Roth since 1984 and 1984! Rumored titles have been The Future and 2012 but I don’t think either will turn out to be true. Maybe IV though..?

Judas Priest
The band hasn’t definitely said a new album is coming in 2012 but they’ve been working on new material for a while now and seem to be looking at 2012 for releasing it. It’s a different songwriting dynamic now though. Instead of Halford/Downing/Tipton, it’s just Halford/Tipton. By all accounts, new guitarist Richie Faulkner is carrying his weight in a live setting so I think the album is going to turn out quite good. I do think it’s time the band delivers a straight ahead metal album though. Angel of Retribution and Nostradamus were good but not excellent. The band really hasn’t given the world that kick-ass classic metal album that they should’ve already done since Halford has come back. They really need a PainkillerHell Bent for Leather or British Steel at this point and keep it simple.

Primal Fear – Unbreakable (late January)
I have heard this album. It’s good. Plan on reviewing it soon.

Mollo/Martin – The Third Cage (late January)
See above. It’s great to have a new album out with Tony Martin on vocals.

Buckcherry
Maybe wishful thinking on my part but they were working on new material this past summer so hopefully something new will appear by next summer.

The Last Vegas The Other Side
No date announced yet but they recently released the free digital Other Side E.P. so I’d imagine we’ll have the new album by the spring.

Slash
His first solo album was one of the best records from the last few years and this time, Myles Kennedy is singing all the songs. Everything is written, all that’s left to do is record the songs so I’m guessing spring for this one as well.

Trans-Siberian OrchestraRomanov: What Kings Must Whisper
The second non-holiday from TSO, it was actually planned to be their first album way back in 1994 but they held on it while trying to get a Broadway musical out of it first. Night Castle was dark and cool while still keeping that trademark blend of metal, rock and classical music, I expect more of the same here.

Dokken
With a deal in place with Frontiers Records for the new album, I’m expecting something special despite never being a huge Dokken fan. Lightning Strikes Again was good enough for me to be interested in a follow-up. The plan, as of this past November, was to have recording completed by February.

Stryper
This album was actually delayed from this past year in favor of recording and releasing the excellent The Covering album of cover songs. According to Michael Sweet, two albums are in the works: the first will be an album of re-recordings (Why? Can we stop this trend, please?)  followed by an album of all-new material written in the same heavy, edgy vein as “God” from The Covering.

M-Pire of Evil
M-Pire of Evil is the renamed Primevil which itself was the reunited late ’80s/early ’90s line-up of Venom that featured Tony “Demolition Man” Dolan on vocals/bass . I’m not well-versed on the comings and goings of the Venom roster but the “classic” line-up is split into two different bands right now. Conrad “Cronos” Lant is leading Venom with a few newer guys while the other two “classic” members (Jeff “Mantas” Dunn & Anthony “Abaddon” Bray) have hooked up again with Dolan for M-Pire of Evil.

They released an EP this past summer called The Creatures of the Black, which was pretty good and I liked the Prime Evil album (the only Venom release I’ve heard from this line-up) so I’m looking forward to a full length album. I couldn’t find anything resembling a release date but going by the band’s Facebook page, it should be soon because they’ve been teasing releasing the album cover.

Tooth And Nail (March)
The band that features 3/4 of the classic Dokken line-up. How does “Wild” Mick Brown still retain a position in Dokken while joining Tooth And Nail? Given Don Dokken’s reputation, you’d think he’d have been fired from Dokken by now. I mean, this band was named after a Dokken album and they’ve gloated over the fact that Don Dokken isn’t in the group (bassist Jeff Pilson will handle vocals). What’s weird is that on the band’s Facebook page, they list current Whitesnake drummer Brian Tichy as a member as well… I guess he’s there for the live shows in case Brown has to go off and play in Dokken?

I’m probably forgetting a few more albums but oh well!

CRAZY LIXX – New Religion

Crazy Lixx – New Religion (2010, Frontiers Records)

1. “Rock And A Hard Place” … 3:54
2. “My Medicine (R.O.C.K)” … 4:39
3. “21 ‘Til I Die” … 3:24
4. “Blame It On Love” … 4:06
5. “Road To Babylon” … 3:18
6. “Children Of The Cross” … 4:30
7. “The Witching Hour” … 4:13
8. “Lock Up Your Daughter” … 4:05
9. “She’s Mine” … 3:39
10. “What Of Our Love” … 4:16
11. “Desert Bloom” … 0:46
12. “Voodoo Woman” … 3:54

Band:
Danny Rexon – Vocals
Andy Dawson – Guitar
Loke Rivano – Bass
Joel Cirera – Drums

Producer: Chris Laney

I’ve heard good things about Crazy Lixx over the last few years but other than hitting up their MySpace page once or twice, I never did much research on them. Fortunately, I am afforded the opportunity to sample a number of Frontiers’ new releases and I jumped at the chance to give this album a go.

I decided the best way to devote some serious listening time to New Religion was on my iPod while at the gym. There would be no shuffling that night as I was able to get through most of this album in running order and walked away very impressed by these guys. They “get it”. So many glam-infatuated bands these days have the looks but no hooks. Often times these bands get too caught up in the sleaze and punk vibe that all the songs are so similar you might as well just pick one track at random and hit “repeat”.

Crazy Lixx is not one of those bands. Each song has its own flavor and many of them have stuck with me. I’m currently on my fifth or sixth spin through this album and I haven’t gotten tired of it yet. Huge gang vocals like on “The Witching Hour”), Def Leppard-inspired “My Medicine (R.O.C.K.)”, melodic rocker “Blame It On Love”, Danger Danger-sounding “She’s Mine”, eff you anthem “21 ‘Til I Die”, the ballad “What Of Our Love”… Crazy Lixx does a great job making fun ’80s-style hard rock, throwing in all the cheese and chest-thumping that goes along with it.

New Religion is a collection of extremely catchy hard rock that’s not to be missed.

Highlights: “My Medicine (R.O.C.K.)”, “21 ‘Til I Die”, “The Witching Hour”, “She’s Mine”, “Voodoo Woman”

http://www.crazylixx.com
http://www.myspace.com/crazylixxmusic

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