Let's face it folks; when the often tumultuous realm best known as the Glam and Hair Metal genres and the proverbial modern day collide, the results can be disastrous, leaving both die-hard completists and clueless newcomers alike far less than satisfied. Although I'll be the first to admit that I continued to wholeheartedly embrace the sporadic, independent offerings of Enuff Z'Nuff, Poison and, to a lesser extent, Ratt long after they'd reached their respective primes, I often found myself disappointed with the quality--or, more often than not, the complete lack thereof--of the recordings in question. Thoroughly fraught with truly embarrassingly poor Production values and sub-standard songwriting, the end result(s) of even the most well-intended 'comebacks' appeared destined for the nearest cut-out bin. Fortunately for all parties involved, this is most definitely not the issue with Elefanté, the latest highly-anticipated effort from Los Angeles, California-based stalwarts Bulletboys.
On the stellar Elefanté (2015), an expertly assembled eleven song collection of Hard Rock and Heavy Metal, each track, beginning with the relentlessly pummeling “Rollover” and the acoustic-tinged quasi-Power Ballad “Symphony”, immediately commands the rapt and undivided attention of all parties involved, myself most definitely included. Wisely improving upon the less-than-stellar Brent Woods-Produced 10¢ Billionaire (2009), the group drives home each key focal point via a seamless blend of soaring vocals, blistering fretwork and imaginatively punishing rhythms. Despite being deeply entrenched amid the gleeful, hook-laden tonalities of their mascara and hairspray and MTV-encrusted past, the group showcases their more-than-considerable talents without, believe it or not, burying the proverbial average listener (i.e. you, the ever-faithful reader) amid various an array of numbing inanities. The initial excursions are as memorable as they are thoroughly satisfying.
Continuing with the emotionally-charged lament “Saving You From Me” and the cliché-ridden--albeit-highly-effective--“Drop Your Weapon”, the newly-rejuvenated combination of vocalist/lead guitarist Marq Torien (ex-Kagny And The Dirty Rats, King Kobra and, if legends are to be believed, an early Randy Rhoads replacement for Ozzy Osbourne), rhythm guitarist Nick Rozz, bassist Chad MacDonald and drummer Shawn Duncan steamroll ahead like the well-oiled machine they so obviously have become. Wasting little--if any--time driving home each key focal point via an airtight tonality that belies their improbably advanced age, the group frequently revisits their oft-documented R&B-flavored roots. Adding a level of depth and intensity to their craft rarely seen outside of the realms of the purported 'Major Labels', the group fires on all cylinders early and often.
Definitively proving that some groups do actually improve with age, other standouts, including refreshingly faithful rendition of the Elton John classic “Bitch Is Back” and the equally impressive closer “Elefanté”, are seemingly guaranteed to only add to the group's already notoriously dedicated fan base. Possibly their most lyrically mature and musically diverse recording to date, Elefanté captures the group operating amid an obvious creative peak, the results of which are sure to resonate long after Would these recordings--and thus the group itself--have benefited from the presence of Sweda, Vencent and D'Anda? Perhaps. Their earliest recordings remain as pristine examples of compositional wizardry and the 'one night only' 12/30/11 Key Club reunion was understandably well-received. However, the yields of their latest studio heroics are more-than-considerable and indeed nothing short of extraordinary and entirely deserving of the highest of critical and commercial accolades.
So what, exactly, are you waiting for? While it's obviously not Freakshow, ZaZa or Bulletboys, Vol. II, the majority--if not all--of the decidedly tuneful wares contained herein effectively solidifying the improbably long-running group's long-overdue return to musical and perhaps even commercial prominence. With Torien's now-trademark über-slick delivery and a seemingly renewed sense of purpose paving the way, the group finds itself creating relevant, thought-provoking music in an era when so many of their remaining contemporaries find themselves completely reliant on the County and State Fair circuits for survival. Love 'em or loathe 'em, this is quite possibly as good as it gets. As a result, if you've once again found yourself in search of a nostalgia-tinged reprieve from the painfully mindless, Pop and Hip-Hop-fueled banalities that are so often force fed en mass, then this, my friends, might just be the high-octane fix for what ails you. Trust me, you will not be disappointed.
10¢ Billionaire (2009)
Behind The Orange Curtain (2007)
Acid Monkey (1995)
Za Za (1993)
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