Almost immediately following the last Twisted Sister shows, Dee Snider gave the world a solo album. Snider promised something different. It was a rock record but it wasn’t afraid to experiment with its more alternative slant and was covered in a thick pop gloss. Frankly, I thought it was brilliant and showed he wasn’t afraid to experiment and make something modern.
Meanwhile, his latest solo offering has Snider double down on what made him an icon: metal. Entitled For the Love of Metal, you know he’s not fucking about. Hit play with the brutal opening of “Lies Are a Business” and if there was even a sliver of a doubt, he’s eradicated it. Essentially, this is a metal album but Snider isn’t afraid to mould it to his own shape. There’s straight-forward heavy metal moments, thrashier songs, NWOBHM and even strays into metalcore territory.
There’s a distinct style from the music that keeps this from becoming an album trying to achieve too much and anchored with Snider’s voice, balances variation with consistency. Whilst tapping into these different sounds, he’s also managed to make the album sound classic yet modern, swaddled in that lethal combination of denim, leather and hairspray. It’s here you’ve got to give kudos to Hatebreed’s Jamey Jasta since he’s produced it and probably helped keep the balance of the two opposing eras. Indeed, the thrashier and metalcore-like moments aren’t just thrown in for the sake of it, they sit well within the songs and the album and as they’re introduced you don’t find yourself thinking it’s an odd direction to move the needle.
Naturally, one of the biggest questions when it comes to an album like this, given Snider’s age, is the voice. Yes, he’s still got it. Equally comfortable with screams, growls and snarls, it hasn’t lost any of the punch but does have more control and heft to it compared to early Twisted Sister albums – such is the gift of experience. Meanwhile, lyrically, Snider is writing about what he does best: empowerment. “I am the Hurricane” and “Become the Storm” is all about overcoming adversity whether you’re the subject of bullying in a playground or it’s a large social movement.
Elsewhere “American Made” is an ode to the country and its people and its attitude. It addresses the idea that America has long since been a country where it has dealt with its problems head-on and how its people do so in their own lives. Whilst it could be lumped in with the aforementioned songs, there is a different tone to it, celebrating what makes the country supposedly great (I’ve never been and I’m sure a certain perma-tanned bigoted pensioner isn’t improving it like he promised). It’s a big, hulking song – a reflection of the country and its people that they refuse to bow to anyone.
For the Love of Metal is one of the best love letters to the genre. In fact, the title track closes the album as an excellent way to underline Snider’s intention with the album. As it quotes and references iconic songs and bands, he’s made this to celebrate how great the genre is and at the end of the day, he’s a fan, just like you and me.
For the Love of Metal is out now