MAN RAZE – Surreal

MAN RAZE - Surreal
  • 7.5/10
    MAN RAZE - Surreal - 7.5/10


VH1 Classic
Release date: June 3, 2008

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

Sex Def Girl? Yep, it’s an amalgamation of sorts. But it’s called Man Raze.

The band came together when Def Leppard guitarist Phil Collen spent time with his dying father in England. Collen had kept in touch with former Girl colleague, bassist Simon Laffy, and through the two of them jamming with Sex Pistols drummer Paul Cook, the trio’s concept got more serious, thus Man Raze was born.

One would immediately think of an entity without much influence of the members’ respective band, for how would the likes of Leppard’s stadium anthems and Girl’s Glam Rock mesh with the anarchistic Pistols? After all, Never Mind the Bollocks probably took a shorter span of time to record than any of the individual Hysteria and Adrenalize songs, right? Obviously a case of two completely different approaches. But what’s let out is actually a general, potpourri mix of all three bands and its influences, which results in a sense of freshness and something of their own style for Man Raze – a band that would feel equally at home in the arenas or the sweaty clubs with a underground vibe, but all the same, provide song hooks for a more mainstream audience.

Like Def Leppard’s current Songs From the Sparkle Lounge release, Surreal isn’t a long affair, clocking in at a total of less than 40 minutes. As in Def Leppard, guitar solos are kept short overall and that affirms to Man Raze as well. Though this is at times a positive thing (after all, snappy catchiness tends to overrule guitar masturbation), one wishes Collen would let rip more on occasion.

Cook’s typical stomp-ahead drumming leads the listener through “Turn it Up”, one of several tracks that would sound right at home being played on late night Rock radio. After the full throttle of mentioned track and opener “This Is”, Surreal is a clash of styles and sounds that blend. “Runnin’ Me Up” is the first track where Man Raze really lets out its more experimental side; a Reggae beat meshing with Rock guitars actually makes for an interesting mix. Due to Collen’s high profile as one of the main writers in Leppard, naturally some of those characteristics appears in Man Raze as well – both where the style and the overall melody sense is concerned. “Every Second of Every Day” displays this to good effect; a Collen melody meshed with hints of the likes of U2 and The Police brings to mind the “alternative” Leppard masterpiece Slang. “Spinning Out” and “Skin Crawl” offers the heavier fat bottom end, focusing more on the bass side of things, whereas “Can’t Find My Own Way” is a more light-hearted piece, and “Low” finds Man Raze at the pop-pier and simpler side of the spectrum.

The overall stance is varied; the vibe of Man Raze is pretty edgy because of it. With a tour of selected cities this fall, Man Raze is on the go, and it’s gonna be interesting to see how this already multi-faceted band will evolve on its sophomore release.


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