L.A. Guns Waking The Dead

There's no doubt about it, the guys in L.A. Guns can feel the noose of '80s hair metal scratching their necks at all times, but goddamn it, this is a great hard rock album. Unlike '80s slime like Warrant or Bang Tango, the Guns never had frills and neon, they were as gritty as that other Guns band and they can still lay down some smoking street rock. The opening track on this album (astoundingly, the band's ninth), "Don't Look At Me That Way," totally lays to waste any false images of lipstick or eyeliner the listener may have, and from there on in it's 40 minutes of pure, honest, real rock and roll. The Guns can still switch from speedy punk slimers to classy ballads and catchy, catchy hard rock as well as anyone. Like the London Quireboys, the L.A. Guns will forever be unjustly damned to dwell in the category of "retro" to most, and must live with the scorn and smirks of those who know no better. For those who think bands like the Black Halos know how to rock, it's time to check out Waking The Dead to see what rock and roll really is. (Spitfire)