L.A. Guns-Renegades

Spread the metal:

Reviewed:  December 2020
Released:  November 2020, Golden Robot Records
Rating:  3.75/5
Reviewer:  Buddy H

Well, well, well…. we finally have what is likely to be one of the most polarizing and controversial releases of 2020.  It would be extremely easy for me, or any other connoisseur of all things hard rock and metal, to sit here and compare this album to all the well-known classics in the L.A. Guns catalogue.  But, to do so, would be an injustice to this latest incarnation of the band.  Let me be clear from the get-go; I struggle mightily with calling this band L.A. Guns.  However, legal battles have been waged and won and this is the moniker we are presented with.  So be it.

What do these L.A. Guns have for us here?  For better or worse, they do not stray far from the tried and true formula that made legends out of some and losers out of others. This is 100% Sunset Strip hard rock played by musicians who have embraced their purpose in life and genuinely love what they do – nothing more, nothing less.  This is a Les Paul guitar hanging at the hips running through Marshall stacks cranked to the max while decked out in black leather.  You get the point.

The album itself is a quick affair clocking in at just under 40 minutes and it sounds great!  Steve Riley is as solid as ever behind the kit. The guitars are crunchy and punchy, just as they should be.  Scott Griffin effortlessly rips through bluesy solo after bluesy solo with confidence and ease.  Kurt Frohlich’s vocals are clean throughout with just a touch of grit added when needed.  And, finally, welcome back Kelly Nickels!  His bass is prominent throughout this entire album and it sounds outstanding!

There are several stand out tracks here worth mentioning.  The opener, “Crawl”, is a great choice to kick off the rocking festivities and is quite a catchy little tune featuring a nice bass breakdown in the middle of the song.  Again, welcome back Mr. Nickels!  Next, they kick the doors in with the driving rocker, “Why Ask Why”.  The band’s chemistry is on full display here.  Frohlich’s smooth vocal delivery provides exactly what the song needs.  Riley and Nickels’ rhythm section propels the song full speed ahead and Griffin supplies a ballsy bluesy solo that screams with attitude.  For me, the real gem is “Witchcraft”.  With its pounding rhythm, climbing bridge section, infectious chorus, and blistering lead work from Griffin, it just doesn’t get much better than this.

My only complaint about this otherwise rock-solid debut is the inclusion of the two ballads, “You Can’t Walk Away” and “Would”.  When the band is firing on all cylinders, as is the case throughout the rest of the album, why stop the momentum?  They just seem incredibly out of place to me.  Is this album an instant classic? No. Is this album complete garbage? Absolutely not!  This is an impressive vehicle used to transport us back to the magnificent Sunset Strip hard rock scene of yesteryear.  Clear your mind and give this NEW band a chance.  Get in your car, hit the open road, roll your windows down and blast this mother loud and proud!

Track Listing:

1.    Crawl
2.     Why Ask Why
3.     Well Oiled Machine
4.     Lost Boys
5.     You Can’t Walk Away
6.     Witchcraft
7.     All That You Are
8.     Would
9.     Renegades
10.  Don’t Wanna Know

Line Up:

Kurt Frohlich – Lead Vocals and Rhythm Guitar
Scott Griffin – Lead Guitar
Kelly Nickels – Bass Guitar
Steve Riley – Drums