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Saturday, November 5, 2011

REVIEW: Rogue Male (UK) – Nail It (2009)

Today we’re going to review Rogue Male’s newest almost totally unknown album, “Nail It”, released in 2009 by Rm2k label, which I’ve personally never heard of. There’s hardly any information about this album to be found anywhere on internet – which is kind of weird, because Rogue Male should have at least decent underground following. For long time after there were rumors about this album to have been released, I actually thought it was a bad joke, since it was nowhere to be found. Or at least I could not find it. Advertising has truly been at minimum. Nail It was eventually released with minimal fuss available as CD and digital download. Personally only place I've ever seen it for sale as physical CD copy is at music store (and the page seems to be vanished for now). It's also available as digital mp3 download in Amazon.

Rogue Male was foretold to be the "next big thing" by "Kerrang!" magazine in mid-eighties, one of the biggest British rock music magazines around at the time. It was around those days they released their debut "First Visit". Rogue Male played quite rough sounding British heavy metal with slight punk influences to be heard. The band then disbanded after their release called "Animal Man" (1986) and vanished. The band's return in 2009 wasn't actually expected after over two decades of silence and two full-length albums defining their past career.

After such short career and long break the they surely can't return with similar sound and aggression? Well, it's a pleasure to see Nail It following their old style quite well. While the second album Animal Man was slightly more experimental album, Nail It continues pretty in roots of the debut First Visit (1985). That album was bit similar to T.A.N.K's Filth Hounds Of Hades, Battleaxes' Burn This Town, and Motörhead.

The same rough and rebellious rocking attitude with punk influences remains within Nail It, than how they sounded in First Visit. Trademarks on the album are pounding bass, quite rough mid-ranged half-shouted  vocals of Jim Lyttle with certain “insane vibe”, and totally dirty, crisp and dry sounding guitars. Those elements give Nail It quite raw vibe. This album certainly doesn’t sound over-produced like the many do this day, yet it’s not a mess either. It's got, let's say, fleshed out garage sound. I instantly liked sound mix on Nail It since the first song. Hard rock / punk flavored garage-sounding drumming fits well, being quite hectic and storming, and not overly accurate or polished, yet not sloppy either. It also features nicely much bass-drumming, adding some spark into otherwise mid-tempo material. Nail it style-wise settles somewhere between Motörhead influenced debut album First Visit and rather experimental mid-tempo roller Animal Man.

So the sound mix is very pleasant, how are the actual material? Nail It has ten songs altogether and material is bit varying by it's quality. I mean, as whole, the album doesn’t quite live up to glory of First Visit, although the sound honors the band’s roots. Some songs feel slightly less furious and watered down, than in First Visit – but still do pretty good job. Compositions themselves might not be the most furious ever by the band, but guitar playing and drumming are at least slightly delightful and energetic. Punk attitude and influence is still present and lives especially through Jim Lyttle's vocals – who used to be one of my favorite singers along Algy Ward, Rock’n’Rolf, Halford, Udo Dirkschneider and several others. Lyttle is not the most technically skilled singer out there, but he has tons of charisma and his voice is quite unique in heavy metal. He has lost some of his initial power and roughness over the years it seems, two decades is long time, but the man still sounds pretty good. Lyttle's vocals are still fitting into the music very well and he definitely does more good than bad on Nail It. Lyttle uses bit more clean shout vocals than what I’m used to from previous albums.

My favorite songs raising from this album are: Filth Hounds Of Hades-era (T.A.N.K.) influenced 'Cold Blooded Man' which opens up the album in classic Rogue Male manner with fast beat and dirty punk’ish groove in it. Pretty crushing opener. Third track, 'Up In The Smoke', is a rebellious track with mean attitude. Jim Lyttle’s shouts fit perfectly, merging in with simple but effective chugging guitar riffs and striking chorus: “do ya wanna see the world go up in smoke – do ya think life is, but a joke -- I don’t think so!”. Rebellious as punk rock, heavy as.. well, heavy metal. Uplifting 'Forever Wild' follows the same lines as Cold Blooded Man with thundering drumming and crunchy power chords, sounding a bit like Crazy Motorcycle from First Visit. This track is just very energetic with powerful drumming, and Lyttle's rough shouts once again create the insane and crazy trademark atmosphere of Rogue Male. 'Dangerzone' is the most hard rock flavored jumpy headbanger of the bunch, with tight palm-muted chugging rhythm guitar riffing dominating the track. The song really reminds of German band Sinner with it’s attitude – not only due by the name.

Rest of decent tracks consist of very groovy and rocking number 'Street Credibility', more laid back bluesy moment 'Stars ‘n’ Stripes' which could well be one of the more experimental songs in newer Armored Saint album like La Raza, groovy instrumental number called 'Meteorite', a straight forward rocker 'Never' which feels like a bit of a filler. Acoustic and thoughtful mellow piece 'Time' feels bit out of place, and acidic keyboard-flavored 'Bless My Soul' with it’s blues rock style is not bad – but doesn’t impress either. The last two mentioned songs would've better been fit into totally different album.

Nail it is overall quite entertaining return of the long silent band Rogue Male, and it's nice to see the lads putting out rather good album after this long time. The heavier songs in the album do truly follow along the same lines than the debut First Visit, containing rough and dirty attitude and sound, with slight punk and hard rock influences. Sadly the band's rebellious fury does not quite reach the same level of efficiency than in the eighties, but the album isn't still letdown either. It's better than expected after such silence. Nail It is not too technical album but good straightforward dirty rocking heavy metal. While Jim Lyttle's vocals are not as strong as before, his voice he still fits in perfectly in the music. This album is like blending of the debut album First Visit and the second Animal Man, with generally slightly more relaxed atmosphere, and a few totally new kind of experimental songs added. Sadly, experimental ones do not deliver, but there's enough fine songs to raise this above average level quality of an album. The reason that this album is totally unknown and hard to get (as digital copy) is mystery to me. Maybe Rogue Male did not find proper record deal or publisher for their album? Regardless, I keep my hopes up for another album in future – if you’re fan of bands like T.A.N.K,   Motörhead, Battleaxe, or even new-millennium-Armored Saint you’ll most likely enjoy Nail It one quite much.

77 | reviewer: dungeoncrawler

Buy digital mp3 copy of the album from Amazon
Buy Rogue Male’s Nail It from rm2kmusic store (25.8.2013, Status: down)

  • 1. Cold Blooded Man 04:09
  • 2. Street Credibility 05:00
  • 3. Up in Smoke 05:42
  • 4. Stars N Stripes 03:56
  • 5. Time 03:34
  • 6. Never 03:10
  • 7. Meteorite 02:19
  • 8. Forever Wild 05:32
  • 9. Dangerzone 07:04
  • 10. Bless My Soul 04:53
    • Total Running time - 45:19


1 comment:

  1. Don't write nonsense like that without actually presenting your own opinion, which would be replacements for the bands that "sound like Rogue Male" on this album. So lets hear it, what should one in your opinion replace "TANK, Motörhead, and early Battleaxe" as the bands reminding of Rogue Male?