Reviewed: April, 2020
Released: 2020, Volcano Records
With much of the world locking down and staying home, Italy has been hit especially hard by the COVID-19 virus. Considering this sobering reality, 17 Crash’s new album THROUGH HELL AND BACK is a welcome and uplifting headbanging experience, and unfortunately timely named. Formed in Tuscany in 2011, THROUGH HELL AND BACK is the band’s third full-length album and one that finds them continuing to evolve and refine their sound. The glam/sleaze rock style is still present, but this now is mostly hard rock/lite metal with a healthy dose of AOR. This combination gives 17 Crash a catchy feel that elevates them beyond the typical drooling 80s LA glam band.
With CRASHDÏET and Reckless Love stumbling over the last few years, there are not many quality bands playing this style anymore. What we get here is a small dash of GNR and LA Guns, but through the lens of European AOR melodies similar to Grand Design and early Reckless Love. Truth is, this is no simple rehash of the past. 17 Crash know their history, and they have taken their influences and put their own modern stamp on them.
One of the signature tunes is the title track, where vocalist Ros Crash shows his range and versatility, backed by excellent guitar work and a thumping rhythm section. This song reminds me of another band toiling in this sound space, equally excellent and deserving of greater recognition. That band is Belfast Ireland’s Maverick. Together there is the unmistakable feeling of both bands picking up the torch of melodic metal/AOR and running with it. Soaring and memorable choruses abound, and the mix is clear and balanced, but not what I would call warm.
Quick to hit and impress, THROUGH HELL AND BACK does not overstay its welcome with ten songs clocking in at 37 minutes. Impressively, the back half is just as engaging as the first few songs, with only the milquetoast ballad “Don’t Surrender” missing the mark. The band has admitted to trying to find themselves through their first few albums, and if there is one minor quibble it would be that the search is still on. There are perhaps one too many sleazy licks that sometimes sound out of place in what is overwhelmingly an AOR/lite metal album. This seems the direction the band prefers, thus the sleaze is perhaps best left behind. Minor gripes aside, THROUGH HELL AND BACK is an enjoyable and well-executed listen that I highly recommend to fans of Grand Design, Confess, Maverick, and early Reckless Love.
1. Face To Face
2. Be A Man
3. Change Your Way
4. Through Hell And Back
5. Bite The Freedom
6. Don’t Surrender
8. Pray Your God
9. First Day In Heaven
10. Voice In The Night
Ros Crash / Rosario Vasile – Vocals
CJ Blackdog / Francesco Guarneri – Guitar
Wildcat / Damiano Bertucelli – Guitar
Maxxx / Massimo Taglioli – Bass
Phil Hill / Filippo Monti – Drum