SKID ROW – Thickskin


Release Date: August 5, 2003

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

You can’t blame the Skids for being over-productive. This is their first studio output since 1995’s Subhuman Race, an album that saw the band desperately fighting to be relevant in the mid-nineties. Skid Row today is just as irrelevant as 10 years ago, but why bother? Kiss is still around, Alice Cooper as well, even Meat Loaf did put out an album recently, and my bet is that Motley Crue will headline at least one major European festival next year. Who cares about what is relevant or not…

Most importantly, Skid Row shows with Thickskin that they still are comfortable with making music though it’s been a long time since they sold out arenas. In fact, they seem more comfortable than ever. I didn’t fall off my chair when I first heard the CD, I was slightly disappointed, but after multiple spins I realized that this is not only the best Skid Row can do today – it sure is a fine album. Exit Rob Affuso, enter Phil Varone, who used to be with the great Saigon Kick, Skid Row upgrades to a more modern drum style – partly one of the factors that made the album grow on me. He has a grungy touch to his playing. Also, the more well known fact, the band has a “new” singer. Not really, but this is his first CD with the guys, and take note of his name – Johnny Solinger. This dude, ladies and gentlemen, has whatever Sebastian Bach had, but he is so much more diverse and has a great depth to his voice and its expression. Yes, he can do a Seb Bach, but he also can do a deep soulful Eddie Vedder/John Bush without a sweat. No doubt, Solinger is the right man for the job. Where Seb perhaps was slightly more unique, Johnny is the chameleon an established powerhouse needs.

So let’s move on to the disc. It starts off with “New Generation”, an aggressive number that made me at first question if this is the Skid Row I used to like. It has distorted vocals and is maybe the track on the record where the boys distance themselves from their past, but the band never for a single moment lets aggression and distortion interrupt with the fine catchiness. I respect the way the Skids combine frustration and melodies…

Next up is “Ghost”, another catchy number that has “hit” written all over it – a really good song where Solinger impresses me to the other side and back. The next songs are heavy and crunchy, honorable mentions both to “Born A Beggar” and “Thick As The Skin”, again with great hooks, while number six, “See You Around”, is a jaw-dropping (kind of) ballad and simply one of the best songs the guys ever penned. (And if you know the history, you should stop being a computer nerd and get your ass out to the local dealer right now!)

“See You Around” and “One Light” are the more radio friendly mellow stuff, while the rest are again heavy as fuck, so heavy that you may believe Zakk Wylde is a guest on the album. “Lamb” is another highlight to check out, but skip the Anthrax-version of “I Remember You”, called “I Remember You Two”. It is h-o-r-r-i-b-l-e, and the CD would be better off without it. Anyway, relevant or not, it’s good to have Skid Row back. Someone please put the guys back on a plane to Europe!


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