Power of Metal.dk Review

Big Guns
Down But Not Out
Style: Classic Rock
Release date: 29 November, 2013
Playing time: 30:42

Big Guns are a new Irish classic rock outfit. The debut album coming out at the end of November - Down But Not Out - is in danger of being a fairly accurate title, because as far as debuts go this is fairly average in a lot of ways, but does show some promise. In the end, the promise is enough to alleviate the aforementioned danger.

A cover of Neil Young's 'Rocking In The Free World' is musically fine, though feels like filler, I am sorry to say, due the fact that the album is short. It's half an hour, and it would probably have been better to have made their debut all about themselves and leave the covers until later.

It's very formulaic, structured like most other modern day classic rock bands. In a genre that it is very difficult to be distinctive in, the first album is not successful in that respect. In some ways that's good - for example they've got the classic rock tone down to a T and to be honest we want, no, we need certain characteristics to remain. They manage to do that very well. Too often we see bands cite themselves as being of a certain genre but in order to be distinctive they sacrifice key elements of that genre - thus making them not what they claim to be. Not so with Big Guns.

They are aware of their sound and have cited Priest, Thin Lizzy and AC/DC as their main influences. Comparisons will always be drawn about debuting bands. There's enough difference about them to ensure that, unlike others I will not mention, I do not see these guys as a carbon copy of AC/DC or any other band. They've distanced themselves enough in that respect.

In certain genres, we expect a certain pace, I think. For example if 90% of a thrash metal album is fast and hard hitting then it's fine - that's what thrash is - but I think Big Guns have missed something here: The pace in the classic rock genre is one that can sit comfortably at anywhere in the scale, because it's classic rock. Big Guns debut sits mainly in the middle of the range - I'd have liked it to have included a couple more songs that were nice and fast like the second song, "The Devils Highway". That's the only one we get that really kicks the pace up. The songs are pretty solid - and while a little predictable with the formula, a lot of people like that. Classic rock fans like myself will enjoy it but will probably not think it is anything to go mad over.

The song 'Remember Me' is probably for me the weaker one of the album. Riff feels more like  Iron Maidens' 'Wrathchild' and the lead guitar tone is very reminiscent of Maiden in that era. The vocals are what lets it down. Not the lyrics, just the vocals - it's a good performance but it's monotone throughout and becomes a little tiresome.

They recover  brilliantly with the following song 'Kiss & Tell'. I use 'recover' loosely, cos it isn't a bad song it's just weaker than the others. 'Kiss & Tell' represents, for me, a moment when all that we love about classic rock comes together fantastically - a catchy, memorable number about some harlot who gets away with being a bitch because of her skills in certain areas that enable her to ensure she gets what she wants, before leaving the red blooded sucker of a man for dust. Or, 'dropped like a hot coal with no goodbye', as our defeated storyteller puts it. The lyrical themes are for nothing but classic rock and the vocal range that was lacking in the previous song is soon forgotten.

I think they're ones to watch. It is definitely worth a shot and I listen to this album knowing I will definitely see them at a live gig if they come over here, which I hope they will.

So, down but not out? Well they're not down - on the ropes a bit maybe. They could certainly come back off swinging and hitting harder though. Hopefully they will, and crack me around the head in doing so - in a metaphorical sense, of course. Overall, I have to say well done.

01. Red Eyed & Rolling
The Devils' Highway
A Song For A Friend
Remember Me
Kiss And Tell
Rocking In The Free World  
Fall From Grace
Always & Forever (Instrumental) 
Label: Independent
Distribution: www.biggunsofficial.com
Reviewed by: Matt Fabi
Date: 15 November, 2013
Website: www.biggunsofficial.com