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WESTWORLD
SKIN

ROADRUNNER
Produced by: Orofino, Harnell & Reale

Released: OUT NOW / Website
Closest Relative: TNT
GENRE: Hard Rock
OVERALL: 92%

  1. Skin
  2. Ice Queen
  3. Uneasy
  4. Limbo
  5. Black Shadow Symphony
  6. Tomorrow's Yesterday
  7. Out There
  8. Heart Is A Heavy Load
  9. Get A Life
  10. Uninvited

Westworld's second album Skin is one of the more anticipated album's of the year. Just what direction would the guys go in after their critically acclaimed debut?
I for one was surprised when I heard the album for the first time and have needed several listens before I could safely review the record.
Two things about this record are obvious: the guys have clearly bonded and grown as a band. And they have taken that growth into their songwriting and delivery of this album. It's less of a project and much more of a cohesive band effort.
For the record, Westworld is Tony Harnell, Mark Reale, Bruno Ravel and John O'Reilly.
And given the sound of their debut was so good, the improvements here have taken this album further into the major leagues.
The songs themselves flow together better, with a more
consistent feel than on the debut album, where the style tended to change between numbers.
Now for the style of the album. The guys have taken the sound of the debut album and taken it a step further. Heavier, more intense and clearly more contemporary than on their debut. I had the feeling it might be a more classic rock album, but no, this is a modern and aggressive hard rock record.
Those that loved and praised the lead song from the debut - Illusions - will be disappointed to know that there is nothing like that on Skin. This is a totally modern rock record.
Track By Track:
Skin opens the album - it's a tough medium tempo modern rock song with a few over dubbed effects and some vocal distortion that will make this track a possibility to go to US radio. No big chorus, but a powerful one nevertheless, with a strong vocal performance from Harnell.
Ice Queen begins softly before bursting into an aggressive vocal and a quite impressive Zeppelin-ish chorus. It's another moody mid tempo guitar driven hard rocker.
The intro to Uneasy hints at another aggressive modern rock song, but eases through a mid tempo verse into a big chorus that gets more melodic with every listen. Good to see it uses some trademark Harnell high vocals.
Limbo is a little more familiar. It's an atmospheric acoustic ballad reminiscent of the debut album. The six minute plus song builds to where the whole band joins in and signs off with a great guitar solo.
Black Shadow Symphony has another curious intro - a short, but cool orchestral bridge to a song that is heavy, aggressive and in your face. A big heavy modern guitar sound, abrasive vocals and a chorus that isn't obvious at all, yet the song is as catchy as any other on the record.
Tomorrow's Yesterday continues the in your face mid tempo sound, with a very cool moody break for a chorus.
Out There is a song with a more melodic chorus, even using some keyboards in there! The verse remains consistent with the rest of the album.
Heart Is A Heavy Load is only the second softer track of the album. A moody, slow & bluesy guitar/vocal intro heads into a laid back ballad that picks up a little speed towards the end to where it goes slightly feral in the last minute!
Get A Life is a killer track. A real modern rocker that moves from a mid tempo verse to a more uptempo chorus and reminds me in several places of the last TNT album.
Uninvited is one of the more inspired cover tunes I have seen included on an album in recent times. This cover of the Alanis Morissette tune does the original every justice and even improves upon it, as the band make it their own.
Tony Harnell puts in a sensational vocal and the song has a real emotional edge to it. A fitting end to the album.
BOTTOM LINE: Every part of this record screams class, so in all honesty, despite the lack of overly commercial songs, this is a better record than the debut.
There are no instant rock anthems, it compares to the last TNT record, where there were modern sounding songs that after repeated listens begin to reveal melodies hidden within each track. Like that album, the more familiar you become with this album, the better it gets.
I hope this album gets a fair hearing, as it has a definite chance to not only please a lot of hard rock fans out there, it also has the opportunity to draw new fans in. The album may not do a lot for the classic rock cause, but it should do a hell of a lot for the sound of the next generation.
PRODUCTION: 95% SONGS: 90% VIBE: 90%ATTITUDE: 90%
ESSENTIAL FOR: Fans of the first album and fans of modern rock and the most recent TNT album.
DISCOGRAPHY: Westworld . Skin



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