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Articles Home » 2009 Articles » Freakshow - 2009 Freakshow
Freakshow - 2009 Freakshow

ARTIST: Freakshow
ALBUM: Freakshow
LABEL: Retrospect Records
YEAR: 2009


LINEUP: Markus Allen Christopher - vocals, guitars * Jeff LaBar - lead guitars, vocals * Tony Franklin - bass * Frankie Banali - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Welcome To The Freakshow * 02 Everyone * 03 You Who Wins * 04 It's Really Over * 05 Burning Me * 06 Four Leaf Clover * 07 Looking Back At Me * 08 Mindgame * 09 Mistreat Me * 10 Ripper * 11 Mistaken



Freakshow are one of the new signings to Retrospect Records that are in the 'here and now', rather than being a retrospective band who no longer exist. The other notable band that is current are Wildstreet, who we've covered here at GD previously. Well, what to make of Freakshow? Boy do they have an all-star cast. Guitarist Jeff LaBar we know from Cinderella, drummer Frankie Banali we know from W.A.S.P and Quiet Riot, while bassist Tony Franklin comes from The Firm, Blue Murder and a ton of session work. New to me is singer Markus Allen Christopher, who has done time with the band Miss Crazy. I don't know anything about them, but his preference for wearing makeup a la Kiss makes for some interesting comparisons. Soundwise, Freakshow are all about earthy heavy rock with an 80's vibe. I like it a lot, there are bits of Led Zeppelin, Cinderella (obviously), Badlands and no doubt a few others. The guitar mix is what makes Freakshow stand out, LaBar having a ball laying down some thick riffs with melody and muscle. Markus Allen Christopher vocally - is somewhere in between Sebastian Bach, Jason McMaster (Dangerous Toys) and Vince Neill, and provides a ton of raucous energy.

The Songs
Getting underway with 'Welcome To The Freakshow', singer Markus Allen Christopher is doing his best Robert Plant rendition, while the band rock out with 80's abandon. 'Everyone' has a very familiar Cinderella riff in it (think 'Somebody Save Me'), but still sounds great, whereas 'You Who Wins' growls Motley Crue and Dangerous Toys on the verses, but takes off on a near speed metal excursion on the choruses. 'It's Really Over' has this 'Kashmir' thing going on, but it's not Zep that you think of first when listening to it - which is a good sign. 'Burning Me' is fast and fluid stuff, while 'Four Leaf Clover; gallops along in some sort of heavy rock/power pop hybrid, not unlike Enuff Znuff on a good day. More Zep references abound on 'Looking Back At Me', though the track stomps far more heavily than Plant, Page etc ever did. I reckon the stand out track on the album is the relentless 'Mindgame' which has the same sort of energy that pervaded the debut Skid Row album many years ago. 'Ripper' lives up to its name with some savage riffing and brutal drumming. Why is it that bands now finish off their albums with an acoustic track? 'Mistaken' is mostly acoustic, though not entirely unplugged, as there are some electric guitar solo spots included.

In Summary
It's not a long album, just a touch over 33 minutes. Most songs are in the 2 minute 30 sec to 3 minute mark. Very digestible and easy on the intake. Freakshow had more or less recorded this album before shopping it out to labels. With most bigger labels now suffering because of the economic backlash, it was left to a bevy of independent labels to do the good deed - Sam and Retrospect winning out. The Las Vegas label should be very pleased with their acquisition, as this is a fine album, more for the heavy rockers among you, rather than the fluffy poodle brigade.

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