Probably known to most from his tenure with LA Guns, Michael Grant has put together a band and album with a little tongue in cheek, Always The Villain. Billed as Micheal Grant and the Assassins, they provide quality hard rock with a metallic edge and, on the strength of this release will surely earn a place with the big guns of this crowded genre.
Opener, ‘Barrel Of The Gun’ has just about everything you need in a decent rock song, a powerful riff, snarling vocals, a crowd-pleasing chorus, and nifty solos. The title track keeps up the quality level but injects a pinkish undertone to the proceedings, in a good way. ‘Killing Me Slowly’ has a distinct riff that has me thinking Morse-era Purple again, in a very good way… this is one helluva song.
‘Red Light Run’ deserves to be a hit single as it just gets into your head and feet and takes you back to when decent singles actually meant something. ‘Break Me With U’ is an update from an earlier EP and adds extra bass and depth too. ‘Death Of Me’ brings metal and the melody into a alt.rock base but with way more taste and attitude than most. ‘Gimme Salvation’ and ‘Runaway (Can You Stand The Rain)’ confirm Michael’s (and the band’s) ability to bring variation to the more commercial end of heavy rock with weight and catchiness. Final track, ‘Secrets’ is slower and has lighter waving potential but the bass is brilliant and the solo (with twin guitars in the build-up) is a treat. You will soon be singing along too!
Nearly every song on this well constructed and addictive album could carry the ‘anthemic’ label and they do have the knack of writing songs that should appeal across most of the sub-genres as well as heavy rock itself.