Thursday 23 February 2017

Album Review: THUNDER - Rip It Up

Thunder - Rip It Up

01. No One Gets Out Alive
02. Rip It Up
03. She Likes Cocaine
04. Right From The Start
05. Shakedown
06. Heartbreak Hurricane
07. In Another Life
08. The Chosen One
09. The Enemy Inside
10. Tumbling Down
11. There's Always A Loser

I first saw Thunder back in 1992 at Castle Donington's Monsters of Rock festival. It was my first ever gig, so I will always have a soft spot for the six amazing bands that played that day. Thunder were particularly good. They were young, looked cool as fuck, and had two albums worth of huge anthemic rock songs under their belt. They were really popular back then too. I loved their third album Behind Closed doors and remember all the grief they got from both the press and a portion of their fan base for "going grunge". Of course this was utter nonsense. Admittedly, the opening track Moth To The Flame had a heavy riff with a grunge feel, and there was a slight contemporary vibe with their production. Other than that it was business as usual.  Then came their fourth album The Thrill Of It All. For the first time Thunder had released an album I really didn't like. The memory of that song Welcome To The Party about this awesome new politician called Tony Blair makes my skin crawl just thinking about it. And with that, my love for Thunder was over.

With the recent release of this, their eleventh studio album, I decided to reconnect with Thunder. To be fair, they really haven't changed that much. Their blues influence is more prevalent than on the early albums, and overall the new album is not as heavy (not that they were particularly heavy to begin with). They seem to be much more at home with melodic ballads and The Blues than they do with straight forward Hard Rock, as some of the 'rocking' tracks on here don't do much for me. They're very pedestrian and lack the youthful energy of similar material found on their early albums. The title track Rip It Up and first single No One Gets Out Alive are guilty of this.

However, it's not all bad news. Heartbreak Hurricane is Thunder at their best, with its powerful blend of Rock and Blues and Danny Bowes soulful voice bringing a wonderful depth to the track. In Another Life is a really strong Blues based ballad. Shakedown is an exception to the Hard Rock rule here. It's a catchy track with a nice heavy riff in the chorus that weaves with and complements the swaggering vocals.

Rip It Up has some great moments, and some that aren't in the same league as their awesome first three albums. Having said that, there's more to like here than not to, and it's inspired me to check out the six studio albums I missed out on the first time round.


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