Monday, December 09, 2013


AOR Heaven

On Sideburn's latest release, which features 11 regular tracks on the digital version with 1 bonus cut added onto the vinyl version ("Lazy Daisy Live") and 2 additional bonus cuts ("Never Kill The Chicken Live" and the Beau Hill-mixed "Rockstar") added on to the CD, it takes only a few seconds of album opener "Bite The Bullet" to see where it is this one is going. If the thought of Bon Scott-era AC/DC forming a supergroup with the likes of Rose Tattoo, Krokus and, to a lesser extent, Cinderella and ZZ Top is the stuff that you lay awake at night dreaming about then put down that mouse in your hand and head right here: Don't ask any questions friends. Just work your way over to this Swiss act's website and you'll be able to find out how to order this CD for yourself. For this is one band that has the whole AC/DC, Rose Tattoo and Krokus vibe down pat. Well, mostly it's AC/DC, but you get my drift. If you need a little more then just that description to persuade you though then read on. These Swiss rockers are in no way new to the party even if their latest release sounds new and fresh! Of course there is a reason they sound so "young" as we will find out shorty, but for now a very brief history lesson is in order. The band's story goes way back to the mid-eighties when they were first known as Genocide. Back then it was all about then kind of traditional heavy metal that is born out of a love and respect for bands like Judas Priest. The more "modern" version of Sideburn though is traced back to 1997 or so. Their first album as Sideburn was the aptly-titled "Sell Your Soul (For Rock 'n' Roll)" on which the group began their new life as followers of the almighty rock and roll riff! Fast forward to the here and now and on "Electrify" the group welcomes in fresh blood in the form of three new "young" members. Joining this rock and roll train are guitarist Lawrence Lina & Mike Riffart and bass player Nick Thornton. These younger rockers add extra fuel to the fire that is Sideburn and make an album like "Electrify" sound almost young and hip! Sideburn, which is fronted by the rustic lead vocals of  Roland Pierrehumbert (Roland also plays harmonica here!) and completed by drummer Lionel Blanc, converge on the exact spot on the map where hard rock and classic rock meet and, thanks to the added young blood, they do it in a fashion where it sounds both modern and historical! In addition to the group's mentioned above this is a release that seems like it would be well-suited for fans of  The Godz, The Angels and Airbourne. The leads are terrific examples of a time long passed when honest, old-school rock and roll/hard rock still ruled the radio and group's sung about what mattered most (women, rocking out, partying, etc). The music sizzles with electricity in a way that groups like Kix used to and in their hearts the members of Sideburn sure seem as if they are all about the glory of rock and roll and everything that goes along with that! It's obvious from the get-go that they are having a fun time at what they are doing and they want their fans to have just as good of a time too! Given the album's various song-titles here like "Devil May Care", "Bad Boys, Bad Girls, Rock 'n' Roll" and "Shady Katy" (which is one catchy number!) you know this album caters to the blue jeans and leather jacket crowd, but with it's easily accessible take on barroom blues rock ("Black Powder") there is more to this one then initially meets the eye! This is one band that isn't afraid to try their hand at something "unusually". The band throws a crazy curve ball the listener's way with countrified rockers such as the Kid Rock-like "Bad Reputation" (which is pretty damn fine!) and the near honky tonk number "Destination Nowhere"! Both work in their own right and add an extra (and quite different!) twist to an otherwise near-nonstop rock fest! Other then those two tracks (which end the regular version of this album by the way) it's all about high energy rock and roll folks so if country-tinged hard rock isn't your thing it's not as if it really defines the direction of "Electrify". Much like other bands I've had the pleasure of covering this past year such as AC Angry, 42 Decibel and The Deep End (all of which are equally recommended) Sideburn offer the listener an alternative to modern radio rock/radio metal's stranglehold. This is real, honest to God, (hard) rock and roll which should never, ever fall out of grace!

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