There are a broad variety of understandable reasons why dedicated listeners may immediately count out this new effort from Skid Row; the most common explanation you’ll hear at least partially involves the replacement of original lead vocalist Sebastian Bach back in the late 1990s.
When it comes down to a band’s definitive sound, the lead singer is literally the voice, as well as the image, for the band. When it came to Skid Row, it was Sebastian’s dynamic vocal range that helped transform such songs as “Youth Gone Wild” and “Slave To The Grind” into instant hard rock classics; in doing so, earned the passionate respect and undying loyalty of the majority of their fan base, who have been clamoring for an original reunion ever since.
Keeping in mind the band’s previous two studio outings were met with largely mixed-to-negative reception from both critics and fans alike, and you would understand why very little spotlight attention would initially be brought to the news of a new release.
Surprisingly, Skid Row are found returning to the proper direction, revived with a source of inspiration and unforgiving attitude. The result is a collection of five new compositions which effortlessly towers above everything the band has released within the past 18 years. From the first rampaging guitar riffs and piercing vocals which decorate the album’s opening track “Kings of Demolition,” Skid Row delivers a maelstrom of nostalgic heavy rock which sounds like what should have been the follow-up to ‘Subhuman Race’.
There’s simply no ignoring Johnny Solinger’s vocal work when it comes to this new outing. Perhaps it was the countless nights of performing the ranging Bach-era material night after night with Skid Row, but Johnny is able to comfortably stay and maintain his higher register of singing all throughout this EP, which truly drives it beyond the band’s more recent offerings. This is then followed up with another standout song, the pick grinding “Let’s Go.”
When the mood then shifts over to a noteworthy ballad, “This Is Killing Me,” the album reaches it’s climatic peak. The track boasts formidable and questionably intentional resemblances to “I Remember You.” This composition shows Johnny producing some riveting primal screams, while backed by familiar acoustic chord progressions.
From start to finish, ‘United World Rebellion: Chapter One’ is a surprising, yet hastily welcomed outing from Skid Row that shows the band ditching their more recent punk metal sound, and moving back to their original direction of music, and is a delivering that should sit comfortably amongst original fans.