Most helpful positive review
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Much better than expected
on August 6, 2014
My expectations for Skid Row's new EP "United World Rebellion: Chapter Two--Rise of the Damnation Army"(2014) were low. Simply put, I have disliked pretty much everything that the Jersey natives have released since their superb (and underrated) swan-song with singer Sebastian Bach "Subhuman Race" (1995). My main gripes with Skid Row 2.0 aren't all about the absence of Bach. Singer Johny Solinger is a decent, albeit somewhat generic singer. While Bach has certainly been missed, the main problem that I've had with the post-Bach era is that the music simply hasn't been very good. I somewhat liked "Thickskin" (2003) the bands first album with Solinger (although it was far from their best album), but the follow-ups were all very disappointing. "Revolutions per Minute" (2006) was thoroughly mediocre and while "United World Rebellion: Chapter One" was an improvement, it still wasn't great. I bought the new EP expecting another let-down, but I was surprised.
"United World Rebellion: Chapter Two--Rise of the Damnation Army" is the best thing that Skid Row have released since the departure of Bach. The reason that this EP is such an improvement over their last several releases is that the songwriting is just far superior. With the bulk of the Solinger-material, the band sounded tired and the songs sounded rehashed or they sounded like half-baked attempts to sound contemporary; with this new EP the band actually has come up with a collection of good songs. Like the first EP, "United World Rebellion: Chapter Two--Rise of the Damnation Army" sounds like a continuation of where the band left off with the melodic hard-rock of "Slave to the Grind," (1991), it's just that the quality of the material is a lot better.
Solinger is no Bach, but he is a competent vocalist and does a good job here, although he will never really be the true lead singer of Skid Row as far as I'm concerned. The rest of the band--Snake (guitar), Scotti (guitar), Rachel (bass) and Rob Hammersmith (drums) sound very impressive. They are aware that some fans will never accept the fact that Bach isn't there and that it's been over 20 years since they were relevant and they don't care. They tried to make the best Skid Row music that they could and under the circumstances, they succeeded.