Monday, 27 September 2010

CD Review: Vicious Circle, by L.A. Guns (1994)

Choosing large quantity over selected quality, Vicious Circle presents a long list of 14 tracks plus one instrumental. A precious few succeed in hitting the sweet spot of metal magnificence.

The fourth album from L.A. Guns, the band that shared some common roots with Guns 'N' Roses, was released in 1994. Grunge was dominant, glam was dead, and metal was generally hiding underground. Vicious Circle reflects the stylistically disoriented metal scene of the times.

In a wild and desperate attempt to find anything that would connect with the audience of the day, the album frantically cycles through soulful ballads (Crystal Eyes, Kiss Of Death), southern boogie-woogie (Nothing Better To Do), harmony-based tracks (Chasing The Dragon), melody-challenged dangerous-sounding songs with inane lyrics (Kill That Girl), and a bit of straight-forward guitar-powered metal (Face Down).

The end-result is a mish-mash that may as well have been produced by about 10 different bands. For all the effort, there is no identity or unifying theme or sound to the album. The lack of memorable individual performances, and especially the weak or non-existent guitar solos, do not help.

Despite the lack of focus and general sense of panic, there are no disasters, and some actually very good material on Vicious Circle: Kiss Of Death is an excellent slow sad song; I'd Love To Change The World hooks good emotion to another effectively slow melody, and opener Face Down hints at some latent potential for power. A songlist trimmed down to a more homogeneous set focusing on the stronger tracks would have greatly enhanced the album. As it is, Vicious Circle is a lot of perspiration with precious little inspiration.


Mick Cripps - Guitars
Tracii Guns - Guitars
Phillip Lewis - Vocals
Kelly Nickels - Bass

Songlist (ratings out of 10):

1. Face Down - 8
2. No Crime - 7
3. Long Time Dead - 8
4. Killing Machine - 7
5. Fade Away - 8
6. Tarantula - n/a (short instrumental)
7. Crystal Eyes - 7
8. Nothing Better To Do - 8
9. Chasing The Dragon - 6
10. Kill That Girl - 6
11. I'd Love To Change The World - 9
12. Who's In Control (Let'Em Roll) - 7
13. I'm The One - 7
14. Why Ain't I Bleeding - 8
15. Kiss Of Death - 10

Average: 7.57

Produced and Engineered by Jim Wirt.
Mixed by Mick Guauski. Mastered by Stephen Marcussen.

All Ace Black Blog Heavy Metal CD Reviews are here.

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