Alcatrazz keeps evolving and delivers a terrific new heavy album.
I have always liked Alcatrazz. It is a band of players. The band has constantly evolved throughout the past four decades. The new album continues that tradition. They have now released six studio albums and have not had the same line-up on any of them. But somehow, they keep delivering. On the new album, “Take No Prisoners”, founding members Gary Shea (bass) and Jimmy Waldo (keyboards) – who have both played on all albums – are still there. Fab lead guitarist Joe Stump appears on his third Alcatrazz album while this is vocalist Doogie White’s second ‘Trazz album. The latest addition to the band is drummer Larry Paterson from New Zealand. Larry has a solid background from playing with Blaze Bayley and Asomvel. What I really like about the new album is that it is rather heavy. In the 1980s, Alcatrazz at times walked into pop territory and it became a bit confusing as they were seen as a metal band. Now they are firmly in heavy metal land and I love it. The album is solid straight through. There are no dips, no fillers. But, of course, a few tracks quickly become personal favourites, such as “Little Viper”, “Gates of Destiny”, “Alcatrazz”, the powerful but slow-tempo masterpiece “Strangers” and the terrific “Bring on the Rawk”. The fine ladies of Girlschool make a guest appearance in the chorus of the fun “Don’t Get Mad…Get Even”. Gary and Jimmy are, as expected, as good as ever. Larry’s drumming fits the band well. Joe’s neoclassic guitar shenanigans are world-class (peak performance on the track “Holy Roller”). Doogie’s characteristic voice has taken ‘Trazz in a bit of a new direction on the two latest albums. Risky? Yes. Did they pull it off? Hell yeah! Alcatrazz is alive and well.
Alcatrazz’s “Take No Prisoners” is out now via Silver Lining Music.