Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Alcatrazz – No holds barred on Take No Prisoners

Arguments abound on the validity of band names when members of the original lineup(s) are thin on the ground… I ignore the history and listen to the music on its own merits. This is the case with the current incarnation of Alcatrazz with two members from Bonnet’s original tenure still present and correct and Doogie White appearing for the second time. Entitled, slightly tongue-in-cheek, Take No Prisoners, it is all new and all rock.

I have seen at least three Alcatrazz variations centred around Graham Bonnet and they were all rather good. I saw new vocalist Dougie White with Rainbow back in November 1995 at Hammersmith, where he took on songs from Gillan, Dio, Turner and Bonnet with his unique, yet respectful approach. (By the way, on the evidence of Doogie’s performance that night, Scotsmen do not wear anything under their kilts… an image I cannot unsee!) So, after the slightly widdly V, I am more than happy to give his second outing with the band a listen. White, Joe Stump (guitars), Jimmy Waldo (keyboards), Gary Shea (bass) and Larry Patterson (drums) have again combined to deliver ten tracks of American/British rock.

The first thing I noticed is that the widdle quotient is lower, giving Joe a chance to show he can play with feeling not just flash and, in my humble opinion, it makes for a stronger, more coherent album without repeated nods to previous widdlers. This is evidenced immediately by the rapid rocker, ‘Little Viper’ with guitar flurries that are distinct and distinctive with Doogie doing his standard sterling job. There isn’t a duff track here, so I’ll list my favourites: ‘Don’t Get Mad…Get Even’ is catchy as a catchy thing and the ladies from Girlschool add their vocals to the chorus; ‘Strangers’ has a subtle, gentle intro that builds to a Dio-esque majesty; ‘Holy Roller (Love’s Temple’) brings a monastic touch to the heavy rock and Joe’s wonderful solo caps it nicely; and I had to include the song with Doogie’s favourite spelling of rock…’Bring On The Rawk’ certainly achieves its aim.

As I said, there’s no drop in quality on any of the ten tracks delivered by a band that know their trade and execute it brilliantly. So listen to it as a high quality album that happens to be by Alcatrazz and enjoy rock performed the way it should be… with passion and belief.

Take No Prisoners is out on 19th May.

Tom Dixon
Tom Dixon
North East born, South West domiciled music lover - mainly heavy rock & blues but not averse to other genres. I'm fortunate to have retired early & I can now take full advantage of the 40+ years I have spent collecting, listening, watching & playing (badly) & have enjoyed researching how blues in particular has shaped the music we know & love today. Now if only I could get my Strat & Musicman to sound in reality how they do in my head!

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Great writing and review Tom!
    Here is some new music to check out! Strats heavy but melodic and female opera vocals.
    With lot’s of analog and tape! More to come!
    Cheer’s from Seattle!

    • Thank you for the kind words John, it is appreciated.
      A clever composition and I assume you are the guitarist on the video? Although I wonder about the reason for reverse neck on your well travelled Strat…mine has a standard 70s headstock and scalloped fret board which is enough of a challenge for a third rate guitarist like me!
      If you are releasing stuff beyond Youtube, send a copy to our lovely editor and she will assign it to a reviewer.
      Thanks again, John.
      Cheers from a tiny village in England!

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Arguments abound on the validity of band names when members of the original lineup(s) are thin on the ground… I ignore the history and listen to the music on its own merits. This is the case with the current incarnation of Alcatrazz with two...Alcatrazz - No holds barred on Take No Prisoners