Skid Row’s Rise of the Damnation Army: United World Rebellion II
By Jennifer Russo
One day, when I was around 12, I absolutely fell in love with a song playing on the radio. Every note rang through me like a heavenly bell and so, like any music loving pre-teen, I proceeded to play it over and over again until my parents were banging their heads against the wall. The song was “18 and Life” by none other than Skid Row. I credit this song as part of the musical repertoire that turned me into a true rock & roll fan, inspiring me to raise my bangs another inch or two off my scalp with many ozone-destroying bottles of Rave hairspray and become a true Skid Row fan.
Now, *cough* many *cough* years later and with some line-up changes, Skid Row is still a rock n roll force to be reckoned with. Their latest release, Rise of the Damnation Army (Chapter 2) is still very Skid, but displays a maturity beyond that of their “hair-band” past. The album is modern, hard-hitting and still has the same Skid Row vibe that got us all up and moving years ago. It has some reminiscent moments, which are thoroughly enjoyable, but overall, the music is fresh and timely. Skid Row is still a band you’ll want to see live ~ whether you’re a fan of their old-school work or just discovering them now, and the album will appeal to just as diverse a crowd ~ and that’s the mark of a band with staying power and genuine musical chops.
The 7-track EP opens with “We Are the Damned,” a song that immediately sets the tone for the rest of the album and explains its title; the entire track has a marching army-like underscore that is draws you in and pumps you up. This album is a mission and SR is asking you to accept it right along with them.
“Give it the Gun” offers a more classic rock beat ~ strong chords, wailing vocals, high energy, and an abrupt end. It’s extremely catchy and you don’t want it to stop. The 3rd song, “Catch Your Fall” is the obligatory ballad ~ and it’s a pretty song with a nice flow and well-written lyrics, but I have to say it was my least favorite on the EP. Yes, it did make me miss the band’s rocking ballads from early on in their career.
But with “Damnation Army” ~ now we’re talking. This song comes out guns a-blazin’. It’s an epic anthem of freedom and camaraderie worthy of being played as the opening to any huge sports event on NESN with lyrics like “They can try to take us down, but never take our pride!” and “Rebels we are, held together by scars….” Yup, Skid Row brought the major rock vibe on this one.
My favorite track off the EP is “Zero Day.” I really like the grungy, gritty guitar and vocals, strong rhythms and general raw, rock n roll attitude; there’s a written letter quality to it, with lyrics encouraging the listener to press forward and never look back at what was.
There are two bonus tracks on the EP: “Sheer Heart Attack” ~ a fast and repetitive (in a good way) jam that pushes out in a completely different direction from the other tracks in that it’s more punk-sounding, and “Rats in the Cellar” ~ a rock/blues hybrid with a solid backline and some edge.
All in all, Rise of the Damnation Army: United World Rebellion II is a great follow-up to Skid Row’s Chapter 1 release and I don’t see any signs of the band slowing down or losing their ability to rock with the best of ‘em. Bring on more chapters, I say ~ after all these years, this band can still make the big-haired 12 year old in me smile.
For Skid Row’s The United World Rebellion Tour dates, please click here.