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EP Review: Skid Row – Rise Of The Damnation Army: United World Rebellion (Chapter Two)

2 min read

Following a mid-1990s hiatus, the departure of original lead singer Sebastian Bach and mixed critical reception to 2006’s Revolutions Per Minute, Skid Row has been hellbent on fighting back against irrelevance.

Skid Row - Rise Of THe Damnnation Army- United World Rebellion Chapter 2The follow-up to the well-received Chapter One EP last year has the American heavy/hair metal band further exploring its ‘underdog’ status as it attempts to appeal to fans both old and new.

Opener We Are The Damned may have a conventional four-to-the-floor rhythm, but the snarling guitars of Scotti Hill and Dave Sabo blaze with the intensity of a ‘fifty gallon fire’ and elevate the track to hellish heights. Lyrics about ‘the burned’, ‘the freak’ and ‘the damned’ are made more potent with vocalist Johnny Solinger’s throaty delivery.

Give It The Gun churns like a motorcycle itching to speed off. It recalls classic Judas Priest, as it sneers over a compressed backing track complete with menacing backing vocals and Solinger’s deadly shrieks.

Catch Your Fall slows things down as the obligatory, sentimental ballad. Musically, it meanders into Bon Jovi and Green Day territory, but not in a good way as it does not quite have the same immediacy as the earlier tracks. This is redeemed by the rapid, riot-soundtrack-worthy battle call of Damnation Army, which faithfully serves its purpose as the title track of this EP.

Zero Day suffocates in its claustrophobic, nihilistic glory. Solinger screams like a man possessed, spitting lines out like ‘take the power back’ and ‘us against the world’ as if the Armageddon were fast approaching. The closing robotic crunch of guitars ends the main section of the EP on a triumphant, militaristic note, and would not be a bad addition to the ‘Terminator’ soundtrack.

The bonus tracks are covers of Queen’s Sheer Heart Attack (with the campiness sucked right out) and Aerosmith’s Rats In The Cellar (which sounds a bit more punk).

Chapter Two, like Chapter One, proves that Skid Row do better under the EP format than under the pressure of the album cycle. The songwriting team of bassist Rachel Bolan and guitarist Dave Sabo is as vital and furious as ever, so fans should not have much to worry about.