The new Screaming Eagles album seems to have been sprung upon us. After seeing an announcement less than a couple of months ago, it’s already out. Maybe it was longer and I’ve just been having too much fun.
Regardless, it meant Stand Up and Be Counted wasn’t victim to pre-launch scrutiny. Given the debut, From the Flames, was an excellent debut, the only thing in mind was the expectation of more great quality hard rock.
And that’s exactly what’s on offer. Full of riffs, throaty vocals and infectious grooves, Stand Up and Be Counted is a lesson on how to make a follow-up album.
Far more refined than the original, it’s hard, gritty and punchy. Not overly long either, it doesn’t outstay its welcome but it sweeps you along in its path and you’re lost to its music. It’s exactly how hard rock should be. There’s growth and progression from the debut. Had the previous album sounded like this, there would have been more noise made about it.
Album opener “Ready For the Fall” lays out the blueprint for what follows. With its snarling riffs, blues hiding in the background alongside squealing solos and rhythms akin to Bonafide; it’s going to capture the attention of any hard rock fan. Meanwhile “27 Club” deals with that strange phenomenon of musicians dying at the ripe old age of (yep, you guessed it!) twenty-seven.
Much like their inspirations like AC/DC and Airbourne (among others), there’s not much that counts towards being a ballad or even a slower number. Sometimes you don’t need one. I think it detracts from some albums and bands when it’s not their meat and potatoes and it can be obvious when it’s an obligation. This is a band sticking to what they know and importantly, what they know they’re good at. With that in mind, “Bow Down To the Blues” doesn’t even remotely drop a gear to wander into bluesy territory, instead utilising the blues in the same way Angus Young did to create raucous, blood-pumping riffs, giving the genre the respect it deserves.
Stand Up and Be Counted isn’t a bad album by any stretch of the imagination but it gets submerged by the countless other good albums that have been released in recent times with a good dozen due in the next month or so. It traps you for a moment as you listen to the album and releases you back into civilisation with no reminder. I’ve had quite a few listens of the album now and I adore it but I don’t find myself humming the riffs or blurting out lyrics when I’m going about daily life.
With performances slated alongside Black Label Society and Saxon, they’re in fine company to show how they’ve raised their game with Stand Up and Be Counted. Add in a recent collaboration with Pontus Snibb of label-mates Bonafide, I could foresee a tour in the future featuring the pair of them. And even if that were to not happen and they go out on their own, you can be sure I’ll be there to hear these new songs in a live setting.