GUN SHY – After Dark

GUN SHY - After Dark


Perris Records
Release date: December 8, 2004

Guitars: C+
Bass: B+
Percussion: C+
Vocals: B+
Lyrics: B
Recording Quality: Inconsistent
Originality: B
Overall Rating: B-

User Review
5.5/10 (1 vote)

Gun Shy comes from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (USA), and released their debut album in the mid-90’s via only a local distributor, so After Dark never really saw the light of day globally. As part of Perris Records’ relationship with guitarist/songwriter/sometimes vocalist Tommy Krash (Sinn, American Sugar Bitch), Gun Shy’s 8-track After Dark album has been resurrected, and also includes 4 live tracks, a demo version of “Society” (one of the original 8-tracks), a couple of “unreleased” gems, and a cover version of Black Sabbath’s “N.I.B.” Doing the math, that’s 16 total tracks comprising in excess of 66 minutes.

The album starts out with “Helluva Time” and “Mr. Lonely,” which quickly introduce a Skid Row/Night Ranger approach to both the band’s music and vocals, although with noticeably more bass emphasis. Both songs are mid-tempo and very good Hard Rock/Light Metal tunes, showing some real potential and solid songwriting by the Gun Shy boys. The 3rd track, “Cry In The Night,” shifts gears and attempts to be a ballad, but doesn’t quite get there … in the end, this song gets stale quickly, and unfortunately causes you to lose a bit of the euphoria created by the 2 openers. The 4th track, however, “Something Wicked This Way Comes” (a bit cumbersome title, for sure, but Gun Shy pull it off when it’s performed), starts out with a “Hells Bells”-ish intro, and them morphs into something you’d likely expect to hear from the band Lynch Mob … quite good again, and the album’s euphoria is thankfully revived.

Beginning a trend of stylistic shifts, the 5th track, “Hold On To Yesterday,” is pure Hair Metal … this song appears to have been designed to be a hit, and if the current year were 1989, it certainly would have been! Here, Gun Shy show the ability to set a comfortable pace and deliver an extremely catchy chorus. “Don’t Go Away” is an all out ballad that certainly has/had its place in the “couples skate” repertoire of Roller Rinks throughout the world, but Gun Shy has a bit more of a tougher edge than your average Hair Metal band, so this song, though good, seems a bit out of place on this many-faced album. Up 7th is “Hard Life,” which is another good song that returns the band to their bass-driven opening approach. Last (of the original 8 tracks) is “Society,” which may be the best overall song on the CD. “Society” has a moody and mysterious atmosphere about it, further exacerbated by some really well placed keyboards. Gun Shy certainly experimented with a handful of styles within the original After Dark album, but the one that appears best suited to meld into their overall style is indeed “Society.”

As added bonuses, “Something Wicked,” “Don’t Go Away,” “Cry In The Night,” and “Helluva Time” live versions have been included. Although there’s some decent drum and bass power provided live, the production quality is skittish at best, and overall these live tracks really don’t succeed in showing us Gun Shy in a new and innovative light. Generally, unless you were a follower of the band back in the mid-90’s, you’re probably not going to get much out of these live bonus tracks.

After these live tracks, however, “Society” in demo form, the 2 additional tracks, “Wonderland” and “Christeen,” and a cover of “N.I.B.” have also been carved into this CD. The “moodiness” of the original “Society” version is not as apparent in the demo version, but wouldn’t you know … it’s still a cool song! “Wonderland” is another complete change up in style, coming through with a complex drumbeat and a Jazzy, almost New Age, edge. As with most of the other styles exemplified by Gun Shy, this one works too, and is a very innovative song, though not conforming to a Heavy Rock format. “Christeen” is also noticeably different again, because Tommy Krash takes over at the microphone, making the style here much more Raunch ‘n’ Roll than anything prior. This is clearly Krash’s forte, and this track simply cooks!

So overall, what you have here is a pretty solid original album in After Dark that simply had the flaw of being a bit too short. Perris Records, via snatching up the rights to the original master tape, went ahead and added some bulk to the CD … and succeeded with respect to adding the other studio tracks, though probably went a bit too far when deciding to include the live tracks. All in all, however, Gun Shy definitely displayed the ability to write good music under a variety of stylistic banners. This CD, at times, leaves you wondering what the band could have done had it committed to any one of the styles they dabble in, but their debut in an almost “sampler” format is an enjoyable (if not varied) listen nonetheless.


  • Dan Skiba

    Dan is a former partner at Metal Express Radio, and also served as a reviewer, photographer and interviewer on occasions. Based out of Indianapolis, USA he was first turned on to Hard Rock music in the mid-1970s when he purchased Deep Purple's Machine Head as his first album. He was immediately enthralled with the powerful guitar sound and pronounced drumbeat, and had to get more! His collection quickly expanded to include as many of Heavy Rock bands of the time that he could get his hands on, such as Ted Nugent, Judas Priest, and Black Sabbath, to name just a few.

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