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Charm City Devils
Let's Rock 'N' Roll
Eleven Seven Music
www.charmcitydevils.com


Charm City Devils' latest CD, Let's Rock 'N' Roll, on Nikki Sixx's label Eleven Seven Music, is pure nostalgia, recollecting of the days of classic rock and the power pop metal steam of the '80s. Produced by the band's lead singer John Allen, Let's Rock 'N' Roll is brimming with music from yesteryear, locked in a time when MTV's Headbanger's Ball was playing metal bands like Tora Tora and Dangerous Toys. Charm City Devils never make a break for a more modern sound. On the plus side, they stay pure to pop metal standards, but the album also grows stale very quickly making the listener feel like they are in the middle of a '80s pop culture flick like HBO's Beach Balls. The band's songs are a product of pop culture, but not of 2009 - more like 1989.

Charm City Devils don't just revisit the power pop metal of the '80s, they live it and breathe it as if it was the greatest invention ever known to man. This is not to say that the band members are mediocre at their playing. On the contrary, guitarists Nick Kay and Victor Karrera are superb at creating blistering cyclones and fearless expressions that bode well with Allen's raw vocal edges and hoarsely textured timbres. The rhythm section of bassist Anthony Arambula and drummer Jason Heiser fodder the steam from the guitars to rise up and expand, canvassing the tracks in charred soot and seething flames. The effects are impressive, but the one and only track that could be the band's "Stairway To Heaven" by Led Zeppelin or "Dream On" from Aerosmith is their song "Almost Home." There is something real about this song that strips off the band's power metal camouflage and digs into their essence with lyrics like, "My father called me up / He said you better come home / He heard from the doctor / And I don't think I can tell her on my own / He found a dark spot in your mother's chest / I try to hold it all together / But I'm such a mess / All you lost / All you gain / Sometimes things just can't stay the same." Where all of the other tracks seem like Charm City Devils are just merely duplicating what has already been done, this is the one song that breaks the mold and speaks of today instead of a distant era.

Let's Rock 'N' Roll is a promissory statement, which the band delivers but more in a way that reminisces of rock music's past over living in the present. It's an album that pop metal fans will celebrate, but other than "Almost Home," Charm City Devils have locked themselves in an era that contemporary audiences have let go.

-Susan Frances

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