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LA Guns, The - 1996 American Hardccore

ARTIST: LA Guns, The
ALBUM: American Hardccore
SERIAL: 0607686205-2
YEAR: 1996


LINEUP: Chris Von Dahl - vocals * Tracii Guns - guitar * Johnny Crypt - bass * Steve Riley - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 F.N.A. * 02 What I've Become * 03 Unnatural Act * 04 Give * 05 Don't Pray * 06 Pissed * 07 Mine * 08 Kevorkian * 09 Hey World * 10 Next Generation * 11 Hugs And Needles * 12 I Am Alive


Like Warrant in the accompanying review, 1996 was a desperate time for LA Guns. So much so they renamed themselves 'The LA Guns' in an attempt to revive their flagging fortunes. Long gone (for the time being) were Phil Lewis, Mick Cripps and Kelly Nickels from the so called 'classic' lineup and in came unknown vocalist Chris Von Dahl and the strangely named Johnny Crypt. Because this was 1996 after all the bands former stock 80's hard rock sound was tossed out and in came a more aggressive approach clearly influenced by upper tier acts of the day like Pantera and Korn. The album cover is abysmally funny and like so many faded outfits the band was taken in by CMC, who specialized in persona non-grata acts of the day like Accept, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and Alexi Lalas.

The Songs
Unlike Warrant and their horrific grunge moves, 'The' LA Guns manage to provide some semblance of entertainment with their attempts to move into metal territory. It's typical of the time, prominent bass work, tuned down heavily and distorted riffs and vocals, which was the sound of the day. It could be construed as laughable and a total sell out, but a metallic direction is far more favorable than some lame alt rock slop. Von Dahl does a fine Phil Anselmo impersonation on 'What I've Become' and there's a definite edge to 'Unnatural Act' which this album probably was for most of the bands longtime fans. Another indication of the timeframe this was recorded in is the plethora of one-word titles, including 'Give', 'Pissed', 'Mine' and most topically 'Kevorkian.' The album was viewed as a horrendous dirge of similar tracks and riffs by critics, but something about it manages to charm at the same time. If the band wasn't called The LA Guns it may have had a shot, but the stigma of the 80's hung over bands like themselves and they couldn't do anything right. Other highlights are the short and fast 'Next Generation' and 'Pissed' which have a slight speed metal edge and are light years from anything the band has done before or since

In Summary
There's a ludicrous review of this album on the atrocious All Music website where the reviewer actually says this is 'standard pop-metal complete with Kiss, Aerosmith, Led Zeppelin and Motley Crue overtones.' That suggests to me this ponce didn't listen to the album, as it sounds as much like those bands as the last Cannibal Corpse album does. The album flopped naturally and Von Dahl was sent packing a year later, this forgotten chapter in the bands nonsensical history a footnote in time. [word count 438]

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