Seven The Hardway - 'Self Titled' (Mascot Records) Print E-mail
CD Reviews
Written by Gaz E   
Wednesday, 01 September 2010 05:00

seventhehardwayWhat was I to think when an album dropped onto the denim and leather doormat of ÜRHQ with no press release and wrapped in artwork of the kind you find on useless science fiction dvds in your local poundshop?


The digipack and accompanying booklet offered little more in the way of clues and then, there they were, two words that made me angry to be in the same room as them - 'Tony' and 'Macalpine'.


Yes, music lovers, one of those guitar hero types had groomed me into taking him into my womb.


Macalpine plays guitar, bass and keyboards (yuck) on this Seven The Hardway project alongside regular collaborators Virgil Donati on drums and Mark Boals on vocals. Boals was, of course, one of the many vocalists to attempt to usurp the widdling and ego of an idiot named Yngwie. So, this all looks highly promising as I grit my teeth and ears and slip this slimy disc into my clenching stereo.


'Liar' kicks in and, hang on a minute, this isn't bad. Ok, so the retro rock dudes have jumped on the grunge bandwagon so late that they have actually caught up with the twenty year cycle regeneration of interest but this sub-Alice In Chains style song threatens to deliver.....that is until guitar solo time when Macalpine pisses over the previous two minutes with tedious aplomb. I can just imagine the other two fellas in the studio just looking at each other with that "...but I told him" look on their faces and shrugging their shoulders.


Mark Boals, and I say this without a hint of irony, pretty much nails the Layne Staley vocal style and, even more curiously, the Linkin Park-esque rap vocals of second track 'Guilt'. He throws as many Coverdale screams into the mix as David himself throws cheeky smiles to middle-aged boilers in arena crowds. He falls into familiar vocal territory on many occasions but, c'mon, it is his real voice after all.


Credit to the band whose self production is pretty sharp, mixed by Roy Z by the way. But there is one big problem with this kind of attempt at having a stab at making a contemporary record - who is going to like it? Old school fans may well raise their hackles at the thought of these veterans throwing themselves into the modern musical arena, while clued-in muthas like myself can never truly accept albums like this with the knowledge of who the bandwagon jumping musos are smacking us in the face like a jilted teenage lover.


Melodic rock fans who have actually bought a new album in the last ten years (getting the first album from The Darkness as a Christmas present doesn't count) might actually get a kick out of Seven The Hardway. If anyone fitting that description is reading this, contact me - I'll send you this album and a load more guitar wank that is currently making my music collection feel unwell.