The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

ROGUE MALE
Nail It
RM2K Records, 2009

 

 

Back in 1985 I laid my teenage hands on a slab of black plastic called “First Visit” by a group called Rogue Male. To my young ears the music was insane – like a turbocharged punkesque Motorhead full of animal ferocity and raw melodic punch. That the band all looked like rejects from the set of Mad Max: The Road Warrior just added to the mysstique and craziness of the whole thing. I played the hell out of that album – and ‘Crazy motorcycle’, ‘All Over You’ et al are still favourites of mine 25 years later.

 

Fast forward to 2008 and news that Jim Lyttle had reconvened the group (in name, at least) was pretty exciting, yet it’s taken until now to get my hands on the new album “Nail It”.

 

In the liner notes, Lyttle describes Rogue Male’s sound as “more aggressive than punk, more energy than rock, sleazier than R & B, maintaining the ultimate power of Heavy Metal” – and I couldn’t agree more. What we have in Rogue Male is an old fashioned heavy metal band – before all the downtuning and deathgrunting, metal was about huge riffs, screaming solos, melodic choruses and (sometimes, at least!) intelligent lyriics. Throw in some punk attitude & energy, dip the whole thing in enough sleazy batter to make you feel dirty after just one listen, and you might begin to get an idea about the glorious old-school vibe going on here.

 

There’s plenty of light and shade on offer, too: ‘Street Credibility’ is a tailor made anthem for shouting along to from the front row of the pit with it’s refrain “you want my body and you want my soul, but I’ve already sold it to heavy rock n’ roll”; the sleaze gets put on hold for ‘Time’, a really sweet acoustic musing that sees Lyttle plucking away on an acoustic guitar as he sings a touching lyric of love; and all album closer ‘Bless My Soul’ needs is some duelling guitars and it could be a long lost Thin Lizzy tune.

 

Lyttle was always a dab hand with a protest song, and there’s a few to choose from here – ‘Stars n Stripes’, ‘Never’ and ‘Forever Wild’ all rail against society and narrowmindedness – and all rock with that same ferocity as Rogue Male displaye two and a half decades ago.

 

“Nail It” was made with the help of John McCoy, Bernie Torme and Robin Guy (all legends themselves, with credits playing for Gillan, Desperado, Bruce Dickinson, Ozzy Osbourne, Mammoth and Tigertailz between them, and now playing together as GMT) and their professionalism and talent shines through every step of the way. News that Lyttle has recruited original guitarist John Fraser-Binnie to join drummer Paul Westwood and bassist Pete Dee in the new version of Rogue Male is good news indeed and we can only hope there’ll be another album sooner rather than later.


Shane Pinnegar