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Spread Eagle - 1993 Open To The Public

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ARTIST: Spread Eagle
ALBUM: Open To The Public
YEAR: 1993


LINEUP: Ray West - vocals * Paul DiBartolo - guitars * Rob DeLuca - bass * Tommi Gallo - drums

Additional Musicians: Kirke Blankenship, Jon Macaluso, Thommy Price - session drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Devil's Road * 02 Revolution Maker * 03 Shine * 04 If I Can't Have You * 05 Fade Away * 06 Preacher Man * 07 King Of The Dogs * 08 Rhythm Machine * 09 High Horses * 10 This Is My World * 11 Faith


I've always maintained a soft spot for this transplanted New York band (originally from Boston, with the exception of Ray West), even though they came across as tough as nails. They first came to prominence with their 1990 debut album for MCA Records, setting style icon's tongues a-wagging in the Big Apple with their streetwise metal (yes, that's what I called it when reviewing that debut). I think they were one of the few bands that navigated the grunge movement safely. Probably because they wore their bullshit detectors like badges of honour. Grunge fans were probably too chicken shit to get within 10 paces of the band. I think metal fans can easily judge a book by its cover, so Spread Eagle came across as genuine no-nonsense rockers who played as loud and mean as early 90's New York would allow them to. Constant touring did take a toll on the band between 1990 and 1992, most notably drummer Tommi Gallo whose participation here was limited.

The Songs
I like the mix of songs on this one. It's like the band were cossetted away in a studio without any knowledge of what was going on outside. Yes, grunge was attacking the music world like a slimy green goo, but I doubt Spread Eagle gave a toss.

Opener 'Devil's Road' screams metal overdose, though the exotic percussive intro would have you thinking this is a Crimson Glory album we're listening to. Not so, as Paul DiBartolo barges down the door soon after, and the band power up from then on. I like the deep grooves coming at me via 'Revolution Maker', this is solid and captivating. 'Shine' swings in the same groovy and funky direction as Extreme. It's a bit different to SE's usual fare. 'If I Can't Have You' continues the groove metal style, it's as if DiBartolo and Nuno Bettencourt are cast from the same cloth! For a bit of respite, 'Fade Away' takes the foot off the pedal, and offers something melodic, pleasant and styled in a country/bluesy hybrid.

A bluesy acoustic intro precedes 'Preacher Man', Ray West joins in on the action, it's like he's singing from the Pulpit, that is until the electric guitars kick in and turns the song on its head. 'King Of The Dogs' is a wild and rabid track that goes thrash in certain moments. It's a bit all over the place, but you gotta appreciate how DiBartolo manages to generate some unreal guitar tone on this one. 'Rhythm Machine' is high on a funky electric groove, I can just imagine the lads dressed in flared trousers and high heel boots, like a 70's flashback. 'High Horses' takes a pastoral approach, this time taking on a Tesla like identity. Time for a gear-change, swap out the flared trousers for denim, leather, spurs and the obligatory stetson! 'This Is My World' brings DiBartolo's guitar back into the fold once again, taking prominence in the mix. The album concludes with the ballad 'Faith', perhaps in the same zone as Guns N Roses. Not to be sniffed at as GNR were pretty decent playing in that style.

In Summary
When I sat down and compared both Spread Eagle's albums, without doubt the debut is far heavier than this one. Paul DiBartolo's guitar signal was very over-amped on that record, and on the odd occasion he does reach the same levels here, such as the track 'Rhythm Machine' for instance. There is much more of a groove/funk element on this album, while the debut is full of glam metal with some street heavy punkish overtones too. The band continue on in the current day (2017 with Ray West, Rob DeLuca, guitarist Ziv Shalev and drummer Rik De Luca). The band are also playing in England during the summer, appearing at Hair Metal Heaven - Hull 2017, playing on the middle night, Saturday 26th August.

Given Spread Eagle's MCA legacy, and combining with reissue label Rock Candy Records preference for dealing with artists on the old MCA roster, I am hopeful that one day soon, Spread Eagle might find themselves with a remastered duo of CD's on their hands. Let us hope Rock Candy can deliver a deal similar to the recent Lillian Axe pairing plus the Jetboy and Stone Fury releases. All three bands being MCA artists.

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#1 | rkbluez on July 30 2017 14:12:05
Love this band and their albums...they had the songs the vocals and the killer guitar work that should of propelled them to the top of the hair metal heap...bands like them, Lillian Axe, Saint's and Sinners, Kik Tracee and The Scream should of all done much better than a lot of the less talented bands that grabbed all of the spotlight.

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