The Phil Lewis and Steve Riley version of L.A. GUNS (the other one is led by guitarist Tracii Guns), are releasing their new album "Hollywood Forever" produced by Andy Johns (Led Zeppelin, Cinderella, Van Halen), where former L.A. Guns member Kelly Nickels makes a special appearance playing bass and providing backing vocals.
"Hollywood Forever" continues with the more contemporary hard rock style of the band's last recording, centered on the big hooks and infectious melodies.
The sound is modern and vital, with a vibrant impact. There are glimpses of the sound of old (eighties), mainly on the mid-tempo rockers and the ballads. Phil Lewis' vocals sound great on this new album, and kudos to guitarist Stacey Blades for his fantastic solos and memorable riffs -- his effort helped this album tremendously.
"Hollywood Forever" opens with the title track, which could have been taken from 'Hollywood Vampires' (1991). It has that early nineties vibe, with a killer riff driving the song into a classic hard rock pandemonium.
Follower "You Better Not Love Me" is more melodic, constructed over a simple tadem of guitars, but effective and catchy. "Eel Pie" has a modern sonic approach, a bit boring track, but the band quickly retrieves the grip on the moody "Sweet Mystery".
"Vine Street Shimey" is a vintage L.A. Guns effort that could have evolved from the 'Cocked & Loaded' sessions, while "Venus Bomb" has a fast-paced and welcomed gritty attitude.
Other highlights are "Dirty Black Night", which has a great riff, furious solo and a heavy groove to it, and "Queenie", a bluesy rocker that works to Lewis' strengths. It's probably one of the best things L.A. Guns has done in the past decade.
There's also an interesting cover of "Araña Negra", originally done by the psychedelic rock band Bicicletas, that is completely sung in Spanish.
L.A Guns have never done a bad album, and "Hollywood Forever" is not an exception, this is the kind of CD's that puts a wide smile on your face.
The band still rocks and on the new album there are very nice songs which remunerate to be listened. A couple of fillers though, but that's inevitable on an album containing 14 tracks.
Vocalist Phil Lewis, who owns one of those highly distinctive voices shines here with easily some of his best whaling ever and also the six-string pyrotechnics of Tracy Blades deserve an extra mention.
It took mister Lewis some time to fill the rather large sized shoes of founding member Tracii Guns but with Blades (who's guitar playing is less bluesy than his predecessors but in no way less effective) that empty spot is now more than adequately taken.
Many releases often loose much of their appeal because of lousy production jobs but L.A. Guns have once again managed to avoid that from happening by employing the services of renowned producer Andy Johns.
If you’re already a fan of the band you can fork out the cash with your eyes closed and if you are yet to get your first taste of L.A. Guns, this is the perfect opportunity to find out why these guys managed to stick around for so long.
01. Hollywood Forever
02. You Better Not Love Me
03. Eel Pie
04. Sweet Mystery
06. Vine Street Shimmy
07. Dirty Black Night
08. Underneath The Sun
10. Crazy Tango
11. Venus Bomb
12. I Won't Play
13. Requiem (Hollywood Forever)
14. Arana Negra (Black Spider) [bonus]
Phil Lewis - vocals
Stacey Blades - guitar
Scotty Griffin - bass
Steve Riley - drums
Kelly Nickels - bass and backing vocals
BUY IT !