Hotel Diablo (that's The Devil's Hotel or Hotel Of The Devil even) is made up of vocalist Rick Stitch (LadyJack, ex-Adler's Appetite), guitarist Alex Grossi (Quiet Riot), bassist Mike Duda and drummer Mike Dupke (both of W.A.S.P.) with the production duties being covered by Gilby Clarke (ex-Guns N' Roses) and Matt Starr (Ace Frehley). Billed by the promo bumpf as some sort of a super group, Hotel Diablo is in reality just a motley collection of ragged arsed veterans of Metal's bar wars.
The line up could have you groaning from the thought of yet another bunch of second division has-beens trying to relive former, sometimes highly embroidered, glories; bloated fat men with halitosis, bad hair and poor taste in spandex. But you would be very, very wrong. 'The Return To Psycho, California' is in fact an accomplished slice of hard rock that breezes along with the confidence of experience, artfully avoiding getting mired in the gooey jism of the overused innuendo of the double entendre.
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'The Return To Psycho, California' is the band's debut long player that offers a Metallic collection of the sort of riff driven sleazy blues tinged hard rock that Cinderella, Snakepit and Quiet Riot where doing years ago over which hovers the spectre of the mighty Aerosmith but hey, gotta get yer cues from somewhere. Chuck in the hard driving fuck you attitude that was W.A.S.P. and there you have it; class.
The individual performances are all good and the production is top notch allowing the album to retain its rough sawn edges whilst sounding clear as a bell. This sort of sleazy rock may not take a lot of brains to do but it certainly needs dumbbell size bollocks to get right; a trick that the Americans in general and Hotel Diablo in particular seem adept at pulling off.
The songs themselves are, with the exception of an awkward cover of the Oasis classic 'Wonderwall', self penned originals. Of the rockers, 'Psycho, California' (the resident ace in the hole on this occasion), 'Taken', 'Trigger' and 'Set It Off' are the excellent stand out driving hum dingers: 'Wicked Lines' and 'Bury You' on the other hand build dramatically but end up getting nowhere in particular, sounding generic and unspectacular and of the two versions of 'What You Do to Me' it is strangely the alternative acoustic version that is by far the best.
The six songs that made up the original debut EP release of 'Psycho, California' in January 2012 are all included here so it could be argued 'The Return To Psycho, California' is just a re-release with a handful of bonus tracks thrown in for good measure. Whichever view you take it still is a great lump of sleazy hard rock that harkens back to the heady days when da Gunners and their saddle buddies were burning up stages all over the place.
The boys have done a good job on 'The Return To Psycho, California', managing to create something that has its own agenda, neatly sidestepping the danger of the past swamping the present and thus avoiding the album being just another retread of G'n'R's cast offs.
Yet, while it is good it will still need the lift of the boys former associations, no matter how tenuous, to get it noticed because there is a lot of stuff coming out that will give this album a run for its money. On saying that, it could be argued that 'The Return To Psycho, California' sounds a lot more complete than a lot of Velvet Revolver's stuff and is mercifully lacking the pomposity of the present day incarnation of da Gunners.
Whilst no amount of experience will ever stop this sort of stuff from sounding dated to some degree, 'The Return To Psycho, California' is a breezy, summery, good time sleaze bomb of an album from a band that has used its collective experience to get things just about right. The sort of album created by those who have the confidence of knowing just where to get a little bit of class A1 special personal attention should the need arise.
A good album to have on whilst getting yer slap applied ready for a good night out.