Monday, December 30, 2013

Julian Angel's Beautiful Beast-Kick Down The Barricades

Platinum Blonde

For Germany's Beautiful Beast it's always 1989. More specifically it's the late eighties hair metal scene. If you check out the band's Facebook page you'll find that Julian Angel's Beautiful Beast describes itself as "Hair Metal, AOR, Glam, Sleaze - all in one" and that their mission literally is to sound like it is still 1989! To that end Julian Angel (lead vocals, lead guitars) and his band-mates (bassist/backing vocalist Frank McDouglas and drummer/percussionist/backing vocalist Ramy Ali) have succeeded on their third album "Kick Down The Barricades". Influences are said to be Mötley Crüe, Ratt, Def Leppard, Van Halen, Dokken, Giuffria Autograph, Bon Jovi (old stuff) and Guns n' Roses, but for my money this one mostly sounds like a young Stephen Percy fronting "Dr. Feelgood"-era Mötley Crüe. Or at least that's until the ballad "The Night Cries For You" kicks in. Then the album turns briefly into a mushy AOR version of a Poison/Nelson "supergroup". Meanwhile we have "Unsexy" where Julian Angel and company try their hand at a Aerosmith/Enuff Z'Nuff collaboration before and the title cut kicks in where the band finally settles into their own distinct sound. As much as I'm not a huge fan/supporter of the renewed hair metal scene (I live it once already and that was more then enough thank you very much!) I'll be the first to admit that Julian Angel is skilled as both a front-man and lead guitarist. He manages to take a number like opener "Bad Boys Never Dance", which would in any other light be utterly cheesy and nauseating glam metal, and make it really sizzle. While the first part of this release (to these ears at least) is prime Mötley Crüe-worship the second part actually expands into other musical territories like Cinderella ("Shake Me Back Home") and (the much better then it has any reasonable right to be!) AOR/power pop rocker "High On Love". By the time "Kick Down The Barricades" slammed the door short with album closer "Six In The Red" I found myself in a particular and truly unexpected position. I had to admit that Julian Angel's Beautiful Beast actually won me over with "Kick Down The Barricades"! That doesn't mean that I'm ready to fully embrace the hair metal revival or anything, but if more retro glam worship bands were to approach their sound and style with as much class and talent as this German three-piece then maybe I'd be willing to give it all a chance. It's not all brilliant in my mind (see "The Night Cries For You"), but it's a hell of a lot better and much more fun then a lot of the junk that passes for modern day hair metal/glam metal these days! For fans of this German band one think should be noted. According to the promo material this upcoming album, which was recorded at Julian Angel's studio The Vegas Room and mastered by Rolf Munkes (Tony Martin Band, Empire, Razorback) at Empire Studios in Germany, "sounds rawer and edgier than the band’s previous records". Take that as you will, but judging by the sounds of this 10-track album I can't imagine that this release would shock any fans of old with it's new "raw and edgier" approach!

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