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ALCATRAZZ 'Born Innocent' Album Review

July 31, 2020

Alcatrazz have released their brand-new full-length, "Born Innocent", via Silver Lining Music. The hard-hitting, melodic heavy metal band Alcatrazz will once again throw down a studio gauntlet with "Born Innocent", their first studio venture since 1986's "Dangerous Games".

 

Alongside the unique vocal prowess and range of star frontman and founding member Graham Bonnet, "Born Innocent" also features fellow founding members Jimmy Waldo and Gary Shea. And from the classic album art, featuring the mighty rock itself, "Born Innocent" is a journey into the sort of heavy, melodic and supremely articulated hard rock that is a cornerstone of the likes of Rainbow and the Michael Schenker Group, territory Alcatrazz successfully strode in the 80s before going on hiatus.

 

Debuting on "Born Innocent" is the latest of the illustrious Alcatrazz guitarists to bring their extreme six-string talents to the band, with Boston-based Berklee College of Music Assistant Professor of Guitar, and one-man metal impresario Joe Stump perhaps proving the finest of a list which includes the likes of Yngwie Malmsteen and Steve Vai. "The name Alcatrazz is a brand name", announces star frontman and founding member Graham Bonnet. "People know what Alcatrazz delivers, and on this album you have the original ideas of Alcatrazz but played in a modern way with new inspiration."

 

Mixed and mastered by Andy Haller, "Born Innocent" also sees former stars from Bonnet's long career making guest appearances, from Chris Impellitteri, who wrote the music and played all guitars on the arpeggio-powered "Born Innocent" with Bonnet's vocals soaring to old-school heights, and Bob Kulick who wrote and laid down guitar for "I Am The King". Virtuoso Japanese guitar maestro Nozomu Wakai - a new invitee to the party - similarly wrote and played guitars on the double-kick steel-plated Irish warrior ode "Finn McCool", while Steve Vai wrote "Dirty Like The City". Meanwhile, "Something That I Am Missing" and "Warth Lane" were written by - and feature the guitar work of - Italian six-string hero Dario Mollo, with Riot bassist Don Van Stavern playing bass on the title track, "Polar Bear", "Finn McCool", "London 1666", "Dirty Like The City" and "Paper Flags". Add D. Kendall Jones' writing and guitar work on "We Still Remember" and even a quick solo by another new invitee to the Alcatrazz mega-sound, Annihilator's Jeff Waters on "Paper Flags" (the second one to be precise) and it's clear that studio Alcatrazz 2020 is one giant piece of rock for sure.

 

Besides the supreme musicianship, "Born Innocent" features genuine storyteller lyrics courtesy of Bonnet, who revels in showing he loves the scent of an entertaining tale, proudly illustrated on the storming lead single "Polar Bear" which bristles with robust old-world adventure. "Take the song Polar Bear", explains Bonnet, "I heard those words and thought it's an intriguing title because it sounds all cuddly and nice, but it's not. It's a story of how when the Eskimo got too old, they would take their lives by sitting in snow, freezing to death and letting the polar bear take the body. The polar bear was very prominent in their lives as a God and also as a way of committing suicide, which is kind of awful. But when an Eskimo loses all his teeth and he could no longer eat, he would lose his strength obviously and then become a weak old man. He could no longer contribute to the tribe, he'd feel his life was useless and so he'd walk out into the snow and sacrifice himself to the bear." Though Alcatrazz might well have been born innocent, their new album shows they obviously learnt some robust and rawkus stuff along the way.

 

This album may be the surprise metal/rock album of 2020. Every track on the album flat out rocks!

 

The intro riff to Body Beautiful is straight up throw-back 80s metal. 'Dirty Like The City' and 'Born Innocent' are stand-outs. There's traces of Maiden, and early Priest while adding the that unique Bonnet flavor. There's a who who's of guest musicians (Chris Impellitteri ,Bob Kulick, Nozomu Wakai, Dario Mollo ,Don Van Stavern , D. Kendall Jones,Jeff Waters) as well as music written by Mr. Steve Vai himself. 

 

If your a fan of 80's era Malmsteen, Impellitteri, or the solo works of Steve Vai then this is a must have, trust me you're gonna dig this one.

 

 

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