Released: 2016, Sliptrick records
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
Bad Bones are a band who wish it was still the 1980's, they crave the decade of their teen years and aim to recreate it through their music. Brothers Steve Balocco (Steve Bone) and drummer Raffaele 'Lele' Balocco (Lele Bone) formed the band with Dominic Borra (Meku Bone) in 2007, in the Italian town of Cuneo in the North West, close to the border with France. The band soon released their debut album, 'Smalltown Brawlers' which sold out the entire run of 500 copies within 3 months. 2011 saw Max Malmerenda replace Meku on vocals, Steve Balocco had previously been bassist for White Skull and toured with Nico McBain (Iron Maiden), they are also joined by Serfio Aschieris on guitar, as Meku had been both vocalist & guitarist while Max only provides vocals, so they needed the fourth member once he left.
The band insist they are inspired by Thin Lizzy, Motorhead, AC/DC and Motley Crue however their sound does not suggest anything as heavy or as glam, instead their sound suggests Richard Marx ballads only without the memorable hooks. 1980's the band most certainly is, like a lime green leg warmer that you found behind the wardrobe, you might wonder if they are better left there and forgotten, having no place in this modern age. That said, the music is not unpleasant, it just lacks any bite, none of the power of Motorhead, or the sexual innuendo of Motley Crue, it ends up a little limp and forgettable. The music was recorded, mixed and mastered in San Marino at Donmination Studio by Simone Mularoni, while the vocals were added at Lair Studios in Genoa, with Roberto Tiranti producing them, maybe the fact they were not recorded together has brought about this lack of fire.
Beginning with some retro commentating from F1 Motor-Racing, back in the days when James Hunt still raced, 'Me Against Myself' is a song that deals with self-motivation and a battle to improve yourself, to achieve goals and win against the odds. The vocals grab your attention first, very Richard Marx, which in some ways is great, I loved him growing up, but given the option now I would choose the real thing over a substitute, he is a better song-writer, a great guy and still performing. 'Endless Road' follows, there is nothing remarkable in the musicianship, its still listenable, there is nothing here that makes me want to turn off, it does however sounds like every other 1980's B side. A bit of a slow burner, 'Some Kind Of Blues', that is if the blues wore double denim, borrowing the rhythm from 'Black Velvet', if it aims to emulate Gary Moore it sadly misses its mark. 'Stronger' has at least got a beat going, the guitar solo is weak and lack luster, it needs something to give it the wow factor and is immediately forgettable.
By far the longest song on the album, 'Rambling Heart' is a ballad that isn't a love song, it has the big power-chorus that every 80's power-ballad needed, but its too long to keep the listeners interest throughout, there is no journey that captures you, just a song going nowhere. 'Rusty Broken Song' blusters in, at least with a lively tempo, probably the best track on the album, more Cinderella than Marx, it has some higher pitched vocals which add more interest. Slowing down again for an atmospheric and soulful number, 'Red Sun' does offer a little emotion and a second vocalist, as Roberto Tiranti joins the mix with Alessandro Del Vecchio adding keyboards and Hammond Organ, they certainly add a different dimension and the song is worth a second listen.
'A Perfect Alibi' borrows a line from Metallica and adds it to a pop song, something of a travesty, hence their need for an alibi, but it won't save this song. At times the vocals lean towards Sebastian Bach during 'Shoot You Down', it has a good singalong chorus, and musically has a bit more punch, but doesn't hit the notes that Bach can reach, nor does it have the venom of a Skid Row anthem.
'The Race' is faster paced, dealing with the common theme of trying to win the race of life, they might find they don't make the finish line with guitar solo's like this, the 80's was about seriously awesome solo's which sadly this band are not capable of. The title track brings the album to a close, 'Demolition Derby', however a song about being tough and dangerous shouldn't sound so mild mannered and tame, the lack of bite is typical of the whole album.
There really isn't much to recommend this band, they are not young enough to grab the next generation of rock fans, they are not original enough to make people take notice, if you are missing the 80's you are more likely to get out your old vinyl than buy this, its retro but offers no fresh twist, there are far better retro 80's sounding bands still fighting to be noticed. It lacks passion, energy, drive and sex appeal, the musicians are not skilled enough to salvage it through their sheer brilliance, so all it ends up with being is a second-rate wannabe album, that neither inspires nor takes you back to your youth. Better by far to wait for Marx's new offering due out soon, he knows how to write a hit song & power ballad.
By Lisa Nash