This is “The Gang’s All Here”, the SKID ROW album that serves as a debut for Erik Grönwal as the band’s vocalist
Did you know about this Borges sentence “two souls do not meet by chance”?
Well, at this very moment, in the musical field, we are experiencing the second event in which this phrase is fulfilled. The first time was when Arnel Pineda came to Journey. The second is today, Erik Grönwall has finally signed with Skid Row!
The same thing that happened with Pineda when he was discovered on Youtube (that good old Filipino was scoring points there in his performances and Journey bosses Schon and Cain weren’t falling for it) has been happening with Grönwall, ever since Erik came to the fore in 2007, when we saw, and heard, his version of 18 and Life on Swedish Idol, the word on the street was that Skid Row should take a look at this Swedish lad and sign him, he was the ideal singer for Skid Row to settle down and get back on track. With Journey this clamor didn’t last long, with Skid Row, a “little” more, once again using famous phrases, it’s worth saying this one, it’s never too late if it’s a good thing.
What does The Gang’s All Here present us with? Well, the Skid Row of their first two masterpieces (plus the first one from 1989), which we have missed so much, but also a new Skid Row, more mature, more serious, more controlled, heavier, heavier, heavier, and I would even dare to say, adapted to the new times and approaching a more European style. All these characteristics make the album truly rounded and a bet to consider the new work of the Americans as one of the best albums of the year 2022.
With “Hell Or High Water” and “The Gang’s All Here” the show begins. From my point of view, both songs have that Skid Row of the first period, especially the first album, one hundred percent, so much so that I even find it hard to distinguish Erik’s personality and I notice a Bach imitator.
“Not Dead Yet” is all about rock and speed. Sharp guitars, a rhythmic base, bass and drums, full throttle, and a rampaging Erik, too much screaming for my taste.
“Time Bomb” is a great song, and with contrasts. On the one hand, it has a very heavy beginning, with very heavy guitars, it shakes heads, and we don’t get rid of them in the whole song, and I’m happy about it. And on the other hand, there are continuous breaks, and cuts, in which Bolan does his job more than well. Then, all together they present us with the icing on the cake, a brutal chorus.
Skid Row ‘Time Bomb’ – Official Video – New Album ‘The Gang’s All Here’ Out October 14th – YouTube
I love “Resurrected” too, the guitars, with a lot of little things, including a lot of air guitar. Bolan, who I love, and who together with Rob Hammersmith make the song round, “they’ve been resurrected” they say, I believe!
“Nowhere Fast” brings us a masterful interplay of Snake Sabo and Hill, two guitar solos, and in which I like the rhythms much more than the solos themselves. This song also brings us the typical “oh oh oh oh” in the chorus, great resource, you look great!
“When The Lights Come On” introduces us to, and holds up well throughout the song, that Bolan bass line, very true to his style. This is a song that tricks me, its verses remind me a lot of “Piece Of Me”, until the chorus appears, catchy and commercial to the maximum, and with incredible guitars.
In “Tear It Down” the weight of the verses is carried by Erik and Rob Hammersmith, and in pre-chorus and chorus the song becomes choral, with dialogues between Erik and the rest of the band and chanting, screaming, all together.
“World’s On Fire” is the song they have chosen to end with, and what a great song it is, you wake up instantly from the previous ballad, “October’s Song”, which from my point of view gives an important downturn to the rhythm, and the quality, of the album. World’s On Fire is punchy and catchy as can be, live meat.
Is a singer so important that for so many years the band, without Erik, hasn’t been able to do a job like the one we present today? Can the absence of a vocal reference point be such a burden? I try to answer, let’s see if you are with me. In the case of Skid Row, it seems that yes, a voice with bad blood, with a lot of charisma, powerful, versatile, and with a lot of energy, that accompanies those guitars and rhythmic bases so forceful and sharp, is an indispensable condition for Skid Row to feel inspired and motivated to do great things, as is their new album, The Gang’s All Here.
Skid Row “The Gang’s All Here” Tracklist
Hell Or High Water
The Gang’s All Here
Not Dead Yet
When The Lights Come On
Tear It Down
World’s On Fire
SKID ROW line-up for the album
Dave “Snake” Sabo. Guitar
Rachel Bolan. Bass
Scotti Hill. Guitar
Rob Hammersmith. Drums
Erik Grönwall. Vocals
Reviewed by The Planet of the APE