Murderer’s Row-Murderer’s Row

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Murderer’s Row – Self-titled
Released: 2018
Label: HNE Records/Cherry Red
Reviewed:  November 2018
Rating:  3.5/5
Reviewed: JP

This is a nice historical curiosity for melodic Metal fans of a certain age like me.  Back in the grunge era, (mid-90’s) some Hard rock and Heavy Metal artists and bands fought valiantly on making great music while fickle ‘so-called’ fans abandoned the music in droves.   Blackthorne was one of those bands.  They released an album in 1993 and it featured Graham Bonnet (vox), Bob Kulick (guitar), Chuck Wright (bass), Jimmy Waldo (Keys) and Frankie Banali (drums) as their line-up.  A truly tremendous, all-star, line-up by any reckoning!

Many people don’t know that after Graham Bonnet left Blackthorne the remaining guys recruited David Glenn Eisley on vocals, dropped Banali and added Jay Schellen (ex-Hurricane) and the band evolved into Murderers Row.  They released one awesome album in 1996 on a tiny, obscure label, a breath of fresh air in an era of grunge crap.   I actually own an original pressing of this slightly rare CD!    I was very delighted to see the self-titled debut get the full reissue treatment by the fine folks at HNE/Cherry Red.

The reissue is now a two-disc set.  The expanded liner notes are very interesting.  I never knew that the band was named after a baseball team!   The bonus disc had ten rough mixes, which to be honest doesn’t excite me.  In the world of Metal there is a strict hierarchy of bonus tracks.  In order of preference and value it goes…

-New unreleased studio track

-Japanese (or other regional) bonus track

-cover tunes

-live tunes

-demo tracks

and at the bottom of the list…rough mixes

Rough mixes carry virtually no value as a ‘bonus’.  It is just a poorly produced version of the regular songs. Even demo versions might be interesting to hear for die-hard fans to see how the songs evolved.  I suspect there was not much left in the vaults of the original recording sessions so this is what we get.

As for the music, this band was a little heavier and darker than the bands that the members were more well known for.  Even a look at the song titles, ‘Blood On Fire’, ‘Suicide Saloon’, ‘Skeletons In The Closet’, Man In The Black Hat’ , ‘Raven’s Eye’ and ‘Hangman’s Moon’ give it is bit of mysterious, almost Halloween type lyrical thrust.  Eisley is a great addition to the team.

This is not to say they were embracing grunge stylings to appeal to a younger crowd, far from it!  The production is clear and robust, the guitar tone classic 80’s style. Musically the melodies are great, as are the individual performances.  You could not have this much raw talent and experience in one band and not have a pretty great product.   This is classy and melodic Metal of the highest caliber.   I’m so glad that this has been reissued now to give more people a chance to hear this long-lost gem.


Track listing:

DISC ONE: ORIGINAL ALBUM

1. BLOOD ON FIRE
2. SUICIDE SALOON
3. INDIA
4. RED RAIN FALLIN’
5. SKELETONS IN THE CLOSET
6. MAN IN THE BLACK HAT
7. RAVEN’S EYE
8. BAD SIDE OF LOVE
9. HANGMAN’S MOON
10. OVERDRIVE

DISC TWO: ROUGH MIXES

1. BAD SIDE OF LOVE
2. BLOOD ON FIRE
3. RAVEN’S EYE
4. INDIA
5. OVERDRIVE
6. HANGMAN’S MOON
7. SUICIDE SALOON
8. SKELETONS IN THE CLOSET
9. MAN IN THE BLACK HAT
10.RED RAIN FALLIN’

Line-up:

David Glenn Eisley  (Vocals)

Bob Kulick (Guitar)

Chuck Wright (Bass)

Jimmy Waldo (keys)

Jay Schellen (drums)

www.cherryred.co.uk/product/murderers-row-murderers-row-2cd-expanded-edition/

 

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