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The Return To Psycho, California
Released: 2012, Scarlet Records
Hotel Diablo may be a new name to many fans, but I’ve been eagerly awaiting their debut full-length for quite a while now. Why? Because the band is a minor super group (note: the band would NOT call themselves that), featuring the Duda/Dupke rhythm section from W.A.S.P., plus Rick Stitch and Alex Grossi, from Adler’s Appetite among others.
As you might expect then, THE RETURN TO PSYCHO, CALIFORNIA is a roaring hard rock album that actually leans a bit modern in the song structures and production values (i.e. this is definitely post-grunge hard rock). Still, you can smell L.A.’s Strip wafting off this thing a mile away. Stitch’s vocals are clean with a gruff edge, while Grossi’s riffs fit right in with the sleazy attitude portrayed on the album cover. As for the songs themselves, I much prefer the rockers on this thing, like “Taken”, “Set It Off”, or “Psycho California” to the ballads – and don’t get me started on the, ahem, skippable “Wonderwall”; yes, the friggin’ Oasis song.
Anyway, as I said, Hotel Diablo are at their best when going for the throat, although a couple of the mellower tracks manage to make an impression as well (“What You Do To Me” is the best of the bunch).
At least for this time out, Hotel Diablo is not the hard rock saviour I was hoping for, but that probably has more to do with my unrealistically elevated expectations than what the band actually delivered with this album. The truth is, THE RETURN TO PSYCHO, CALIFORNIA is a great rock album that manages to bridge a modern style with the sleazebag style of the late ’80s.
2. All These Years
3. What You Do To Me
4. Psycho, California
5. Bury You
6. Set It Off
7. Wicked Lines
10. What You Do To Me (alternate version)
11. Bury You (alternate version)
Rick Stitch: Vocals
Alex Grossi: Guitar
Mike Duda: Bass
Mike Dupke: Drums
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