'Stand Up And Be Counted'
(Off Yer Rocka Recordings)
If you were salivating last year after hearing Screaming Eagles debut opus, 'From The Flames', the Northern Ireland four piece are ready to get you drooling again with the release of new album, 'Stand Up And Be Counted'.
Like it or not, the day when AC/DC, Iron Maiden, Saxon and Black Sabbath succumb to retirement is looming large. As sobering and scary as that thought is, the future is not as negative as the prophets of doom are making out. Bands like Rival Sons and Black Stone Cherry are releasing quality music and putting serious bums on seats.
The Foo Fighters are almost too big for stadiums, Slipknot are still frightening the living shite out of millions across the globe and Muse, love them or hate them, continue to hold the title as one of the biggest bands selling their wares today. So the baton has already been passed with relative ease.
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But some rock fans are, or pretend to be, unimpressed by stadium rock and are always on the lookout for a pure rock band to get well and truly hard for. So forgive my Irish bias when I throw in Screaming Eagles as a band with all the tools to cause a real stir.
And a stir is exactly what they caused last year with the release of their critically acclaimed debut album 'From The Flames'. One sure thing you can say about them is that there's no hidden agenda in their music, what you see is what you get, no nonsense, spit in your face ball bruising rock 'n' roll.
This new album, while much in the same vein as its predecessor, unveils a growing maturity in the bands writing. They set a massively high standard with album opener 'Ready For The Fall', a proper hard edged rock song that makes you want to open a bottle of beer with your teeth, or someone else's teeth for that matter. The perfect choice for a lead off single, the tumultuous 'Save Me' arrogantly struts along with Adrian Mc Aleenan's big bag of tasty riffs, equally matched by Chris Fry's supreme vocals on a highly charged chorus that will have you singing in your sleep.
Screaming Eagles are clearly a band who wear their influences firmly on their sleeves. Title track 'Stand Up And Be Counted' oozes the classic rock swagger of Bad Company, while 'Bow Down To The Blues' would stand proud on any pre MTV era ZZ Top record. Proving they can mix it up a bit, the funk assault of 'Chase You Down' is a seductive little number with a naughty come to bed rhythm.
If the band were under pressure to keep the momentum flowing following the flurry of excitement 'From The Flames' caused, it's done them no harm at all. The bad ass 'Get Out While I'm Ahead' and the southern penetrated 'Breakin All The Rules', prove that these four guys were put on earth to write mean, lean rock 'n' roll songs.
I must admit, I hate it when bands release songs titled with their name. With the exception of Iron Maiden who pulled it off majestically, the majority of them make my teeth water. Unfortunately, Screaming Eagles have gone down that route with... 'Screaming Eagles'. Pity, as everything else about the song absolutely cooks, but that's my only gripe with the album, albeit a ridiculous one I know.
They sign off in style with the red hot, smoking gun, that is '27 Club', another bruising slab of gritty American rock with mainman, Chris Fry, once again flexing his flawless pipes and proving why he could go the distance with people of the pedigree of Paul Rodgers or Ian Gillan in their pomp, he is that good believe me.
As a unit, they all compliment each others individual talents brilliantly. The pummelling rhythm section of Ryan Lily (bass) and Kyle Cruikshank (drums) stitch everything together with aplomb, and Adrian McAleenan's guitar work and addictive riffs were a master class from start to finish.
With this album Screaming Eagles have gained themselves some bargaining power, and it should at least buy them a higher billing on the festival circuit. They have laid down a marker with this collection of songs, and if this is the quality of rock ‘n' roll we can expect from the next generation, we're in for another great ride.
Ready For The Fall
Stand Up And Be Counted
Bow Down To The Blues
Chase You Down
Get Out While I'm Ahead
Breakin All The Rules
Streets Of Gold
Chris Fry - Vocals
Adrian McAleenan - Guitars
Ryan Lily - Bass
Kyle Cruikshank - Drums