Released: 2011, Aural Music
Rain is an Italian band that is celebrating thirty years together! True, I have never heard of them but probably many Italian and European fans have. Rain formed way back in 1980 and have been slogging in relative obscurity ever since. They have supported some big acts on tour though, including Iron Savior, Paul Di Anno, UDO, and Rage to name a few. I will be the first to tip my hat to any band that stays together for thirty years, but you have to wonder how you fail to make an impact after that long. That was my question going into listen to XXX and the album I think has provided my answer.
XXX is a perfectly listenable album, a blend of 80s sleaze metal with nods to classic German metal’s sound. Singer, Alessandro Tronconi sounds like a hybrid David Coverdale crossed with Marc Storace. Musically, the band claims modernity by adding a few keyboard intros and down tuned guitars, but do not be fooled. This is retro metal almost exclusively with modern production values. For one, spot the Accept tribute in “Revolution” and the David Coverdale impersonation on album opener “Energy”. Moving on to “The Gate”, you get a Metal Church ballad sung in a subdued quiet voice that is still fairly tasteful and not as clichéd as it might sound.
You might think I am being derogatory, but most of this album is actually pretty good, well produced as well. The problem that I have, and that others might have, is that there are tons of bands that are doing this sorta thing just a little bit better. Examples would be Crashdiet, Hardcore Superstar, and Crazy Lixx to name a few. Personally, I have no problems with Rain, but I wonder how many more bands do we need doing the retro metal thing. Granted, they are from the trenches of that era, which helps lend the sound a tired but undeniable authenticity, but saturation is never good in any music genre. Saturation is killing all the genres that end in core, particularly metalcore and horribly damaging female-fronted and power metal as well.
In sum, I do find this a worthy and enjoyable album and recommend it to fans of 80s sleaze and German metal. There is an undeniable simple charm and affinity for the party decade of the 80s that would be chased happily with a few frosty brews while blasting from a pair of speakers. Ultimately, only seek this one out if you feel there can never be enough bands playing this style of metal or you have worn out your other albums like this one.