Dee Snider - For The Love of Metal (2018)
For The Love of Metal is a homerun that proves Dee Snider still has much to give the world of metal.
Napalm Records 07/2018
Dee Snider is a legend. The man in high heels and ample make-up, who penned and sang angry, yet strangely positive anthems about doing your own thing and excelling at it even when the societal pressure wants you to conform. Twisted Sister brought their angry 70's rock to the 80's and forged it into metal classics everyone knows the lyrics to. Why has the release of his new album snuck in low under the radar?
Snider hasn't hit a homerun after Twisted Sister broke up in 1987. He has formed bands like Desperado (whose only, unreleased album has something of a cult following) and Widowmaker and wrote several stylistically diverse solo efforts, but never really found the success of his Twisted Sisters hits again, commercially or artistically. Even during Twisted Sister’s comeback in the 2000’s.
One does not quite know what to expect when one presses play, but from the first notes of the angry album-starter Lies Are A Business it is clear that Snider is still one of the best vocalists in metal. The album sounds modern, heavy and Dee Snider. It grips the listener from the start and does not let go before the last notes fade out. The songs are clearly from 2018, but they have enough of Snider's roots in them to feel right with his iconic voice. The lyrics coin sticky phrases like "running mazes" and "become the storm" that fit thematically right in with Snider's classic empowering rock anthems.
After listening through the whole album there can be no questions about Snider's relevancy. The sheer skill and rage of emotions in the songs proves that he isn't a dinosaur waiting for an asteroid. For The Love of Metal is a homerun, but the history behind it is almost as interesting as the album itself.
The mastermind-producer behind the album is Jamey Jasta, (vocalist of Hatebreed), who had Snider as a guest on his podcast. During the conversation Jasta challenged Snider to make a modern rock album and promised to produce it. The rest, as they say, is history. At that point Snider didn't plan on doing a new album, but with the help of Jasta, Mark Morton (Lamb of God) and Howard Jones (ex-Killswith Engage), among other, he rose to the challenge of making a contemporary album.
This also means that the songwriter behind anthems like "We're Not Gonna Take It" and "I Wanna Rock" did not write a single song on the album. He wanted the music to sound contemporary and trusted younger songwriters to get it right. And that they did, because the songs feel right, thematically, lyrically and musically, to Snider's persona and voice. The video singles "Become The Storm" and "I Am The Hurricane" could easily be songs written by a Snider if he had been born a few decades later.
The songs are anthemic and definitely metal. No other sub-genre needs to be attached, although there are bits of thrashy riffing and guitar lines reminiscent of melodic death metal thrown in for good measure. Snider's vocal range is impressive, going from powerful low notes to raspy screams in all the right places. References to metal classics are thrown about quite a bit both in the lyrics and in the music itself, but they are sparse enough to feel tasteful.
In short, every little detail on the album has been molded to fit the whole perfectly. There are no weak spots, although the slower Dead Hearts (Love Thy Enemy), featuring Alissa White-Gluz of Arch Enemy, does not quite find its place between the more powerful and heavy tracks. Some of the lyrical ideas are pressed on a bit too hard (such as the constant repetition of "running mazes" in the song of the same name), but do work, if a bit heavy-handedly. The album, as a whole, would be more coherent if one or two songs were cut from it, but with material as strong as this, that isn't a major concern.
Jamey Jasta seems to have done much the same to Snider as the legendary Rick Rubin did with Johnny Cash on the late country great’s American Recordings albums. He has shown us that Snider still has much to say.