Dee Snider is sixty-six years old.
What the hell happened there? When I was a teenager, sexagenarians looked and acted like sexagenarians, damn it. Politicians, gardeners, doctors, Victor Kiam (Google him, kids). The lady down the road who only ever seemed to buy tea bags and cat food, and that embarrassing uncle who used to try and Moonwalk at every family party.
Not now though. These days, especially in the music world, being in your sixties is nothing. Angus Young still thrashes about on stage like an electrocuted chimp, Bruce Dickinson jumps off monitors and runs around waving massive flags, and only people who enjoy bed rest and hospital food would pick a fight with sixty year old Henry Rollins.
However, the moment always arrives when Father Time inevitably and irreversibly catches up. But for Dee Snider that time has not yet come. Not even close. Like his friend and inspiration Alice Cooper, the former Twisted Sister frontman simply does not appear to have an expiration date.
In 2018, when Snider announced he would be joining forces with Hatebreed frontman Jamey Jasta, it’s fair to say a few eyebrows were raised. Would Snider be able to cope with Jasta’s more supercharged hardcore approach? Would Jasta be able to produce songs suited to Dee’s voice and style? The answer was a definitive yes on both counts. So, with one successful collaboration in the bag, the pair have returned to tap that same vein with the fiery, lockdown-inspired Leave A Scar (Napalm Records).
The adrenaline-fuelled stomp of opener ‘I Gotta Rock (Again)’ and the aggressive but melodic ‘All or Nothing More’ get things off to an energetic start before ‘Down but Never Out’ completes the fast paced opening salvo with some very Hatebreed gang vocals. ‘Before I Go’ and ‘Open Season’ are slower but no less powerful, Dee spitting out the verses with venom before opening up his lungs for the choruses.
‘Silent Battles’ is muscular but melodic and wouldn’t sound out of place on a Twisted Sister album while ‘Crying for Your Life’ sounds like we’re jumping into power ballad territory but goes heavy and stays there. The mid-paced ‘In for the Kill’ keeps things simple with an easy to remember chorus but ‘Time to Choose’ throws a curveball with one of the most bizarre pairings in recent years as Dee shares the mic with Cannibal Corpse frontman and neck enthusiast George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher. Heavy as hell but with a clear and defined melody, this unexpected partnership is definitely one of the record’s most memorable moments. And for all the right reasons. The slightly more lightweight ‘S.H.E.’ still brings the riffs while thrashy as fuck ‘The Reckoning’ ramps up the speed once again before ‘Stand’ closes the album in moody but empowering style.
Full-on and unapologetically metal, Leave a Scar finds Snider in reliably top form. Sneering and threatening one moment, uplifting and impassioned the next. Every lyric a statement, every song an anthem, Charlie Bellmore and Nick Petrino‘s riffs slice like razors while the engine room of Nick Bellmore and bassist Russell Pzütto ensures that nobody leaves without irreparable damage to their necks. Apart from George, of course. But then again, he’s not really human, is he.
Buy the album here: https://smarturl.it/LeaveAScar-NPR
8 / 10