It always warms the cockles of my heart to see a band like MAD MARGRITT proudly waving the Hair Metal flag in the year 2007. That takes balls, friends, and MAD MARGRITT certainly do have balls. The fact of the matter is this: even though it's twenty years too late, "Animal" is a fantastic release that any self-respecting leather-and-makeup enthusiast should own.
Although there isn't a single weak musician in the band, the guy who definitely makes it all come together is vocalist "Eddie". Simply put, Eddie has an astounding voice, and it's difficult to imagine anyone more perfectly suited to sing this kind of music. His vocals sound remarkably similar to ex-WARRANT singer Jani Lane with a little bit of ex-SKID ROW singer Sebastian Bach mixed in, which makes for a truly dazzling display of vocal prowess. Seriously, Eddie can wail like hell.
So what sets MAD MARGRITT apart from the handful of Hair Metal hopefuls that pop up every year? Sure, it could be the great songwriting, or the masterful musicianship, but what really makes "Animal" stand out is the wild diversity of the songs on it. Wait, diversity? On a Hair Metal record? It seems too bizarre to believe, but it's true. The album kicks off with some requisite sex noises before segueing into the title track, a rough, edgy Heavy Metal track that wouldn't have been out of place on SKID ROW's "Slave To The Grind" album. "Looking In From The Outside" and "Don't Say A Word" are textbook Hair Metal songs with killer choruses, while "Loaded Gun" is a sleazy, mid-tempo track featuring some of Eddie's best vocals. However, the band goes in a totally different direction for "I Don't Think I Love You", which is more in line with the "sweet" side of Hair Metal (like POISON's "Ride The Wind") rather than the sleazy side, as found on the first half of the disc. The transition comes at just the right moment, and it's one heck of a cool song, as is its follow-up, "Ruling Me", one of the best power ballads I've ever heard. And I've listened to a lot of power ballads.
If you're a Hair Metal fan, you need this album. Period. It's more than just a bunch of guys trying to capitalize on nostalgia for nostalgia's sake; it's genuinely well-written music. It's sleazy and sweet all at once, and it's good to see a Hair Metal band actually exploring multiple styles of the genre rather than being a one-trick pony. Hats off to MAD MARGRITT; let's hope the next album is just as good.
(Online December 26, 2007)