I have a bit of trepidation whenever I check out a new record from The Dead Daisies. After the stunning debut album, there was the massive mis-step which was Revolucion, quickly followed by 2016’s Make Some Noise (almost as if they were trying to sweep it under the rug…) and it seemed like they were back on track. Then that live album happened…
So, with an alternating pattern of good and bad albums, I was expecting a good one. And it is – sort of. Burn it Down isn’t their finest hour, nor is it their worst – to be fair, it’d be a push to be worse than Revolucion. Mind you, there is St Anger. By the time “Resurrected” finishes, coupled with the sinister artwork, you’re looking at a different band. Darker than anything they’ve made in the past, it’s not quite the light-hearted, airy classic rock they usually fire out. Musically, it’s grittier; lyrically, it’s got an axe to grind.
Still hard rock for the classic rock crowd, there’s more of an edge this time around. “Rise Up” and “Burn it Down”, with their juxtaposition are lyrically basically the same thing. Taking aim at the injustice of the world and all which is wrong with it, it’s the idea of the little people reclaiming the world for themselves, the downtrodden of society banding together and rising up/burning down what already exists to replace it with a fairer system. Meanwhile the closing track “Leave Me Alone” is filled with venom and is from a more personal standpoint of saying “I’ve had enough” and ranting at the subject of their bottled-up fury.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a Daisies album without at least one cover track and this time, it’s The Rolling Stones’ “Bitch”. Lacking the brass section from the original, Corabi delivers the lyrics with more venom than Mick Jagger ever did. His cigarette and whisky-soaked vocals rasp and shriek to give an impassioned delivery and is one of the highlights on the album.
Elsewhere, most of the songs, whilst not filler and not terrible, don’t leave much of an impression, and that’s even giving the album several listens to see if they grow. Despite the ones mentioned, nothing is particularly memorable. Dizzy Reed’s subtle presence is missed and songs feel just that less bit well-rounded with him criss-crossing the world with some band called Guns N’ Roses. There’s some fat grooves on offer from Marco Mendoza, locking in tightly with newcomer Deen Castronovo, providing his own power to the songs. Mainstay David Lowy provides some fantastic rhythm work on his guitars and is easily the most polished part of the band. Meanwhile, Doug Aldrich continues as a player, to favour style over substance, his solos are sloppy in parts and flashy just for the sake of it. Far less refined and more brash than his predecessor, there’s less heft than there could be.
Burn it Down isn’t a bad album, it’s just not going to be a memorable one. It may not be their worst effort but there’s a couple of albums in their arsenal which can better it. Parts feel rushed and the ballads found on the album feel like they’re ticking a box rather than genuinely put in there. On a technical level, it’s good, the darker direction suits them and the singles are worth your time, as are a couple of other tracks – but if it wasn’t for the high-profile line-up, this would likely be overlooked by most people. Instead, it feels like an exercise rather than being done for the love of their craft.
Burn it Down is released on 6th April