BLACK RAIN – License To Thrill

BLACK RAIN - License To Thrill
  • 9.5/10
    BLACK RAIN - License To Thrill - 9.5/10


Pervade Production / Manitou Music
Release date: October 15, 2008

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

This is a true comeback for 80’s Glam Metal. Black Rain are giving it all with their new release, taking off with the looks, the hooks and everything that goes along with it and that is the attitude. If you are a Glam bastard then this is a treat for you, if you are a Heavy Metalhead, this one will also ring your ears.

Black Rain began in Marignier, France in 2002. Their sub-genre view was much influenced by their heroes of the 80’s like Mötley Crüe, Cinderella, W.A.S.P and various Heavy Metal acts. They mixed Glam Metal with strong Heavy Metal that made them staples of the new movement of the Swedish Glam Metal like Crazy Lixx, Crashdiet and The Poodles, which is very heavy and somewhat sleazy.

After releasing their first demo in 2004 they went for the big fish and signed with Thundering Music. With Manitou Music, in 2006, they released their first official debut, Black Rain, which was more of a Heavy Metal memorial of the 80’s. The album did not lift too many heads until they made a heck of a change that will make them one of the great discoveries in Glam Metal. Their new album under Manitou Music, License To Thrill, that was just released, is a gem and will be, in the far future, considered as a classic. With this release, the band took their love for old Glam Metal and the Heavy Metal feel from their debut and made it one heavy of an exciting destroyer.

The production of this one is just great and it is very similar to other Glam Metal production nowadays from the European region. The main factor on the production are the guitars who sound just like those in the 80’s but with some minor modifications. Many new Glam acts try to sound like the old times but Black Rain did it almost completely. The opening song, “Rock Your City”, sounds just like a Motley Crue number from the mid 80’s, yet, a bit heavier. The drums and bass are also factors to be reckoned with and they also sound old, but they function more as an edition to the powerful guitars.

Unlike the band’s first album, Black Rain, that featured stuff ,which was the 80’s Heavy Metal food and drink ,along with titles like: “Gods Of Metal” , “No Life Till Metal” and “Hate Disgust And Power”, their new release brought a change. License To Thrill turned out to be more of a comeback to some more Glamish themes like teenage girls , sex , Rock n’ Roll , wild life and good times. Titles that emerged were “Innocent Rosie” , “N.A.S.T.Y” and “True Girls Are Sixteen”. Along with those, two titles stayed as remnants of their earlier album, “Party War” and “Kill Em All”. Both songs are much heavier than the others are and they have some Glam elements with them but their lyrical theme is more or less different from the other tunes. Another cool thing here is the nice contradiction in the track “Rock N’ Roll Is Dead, Long Live Rock N’ Roll”. Well, it can symbolize many things like the death of old Rock N’ Roll and the emergence of a new and raw thing or they just made it for kicks.

Coming up to the music, one can see that the driving force of it is not stopping for anything. Every bit of the music is flowing like a river of gold. The material is catchy, sometimes speedy and heavy. Most of the main riffs are simple and easily handled by the two guitarists and by any other guitarist in that manner. Another positive are the displayed solos which tear off a few faces, they are strong, diverse and just scream 80’s all around. Here are some featured songs with these great marks: “Rock Your City”, “N.A.S.T.Y” and “Kill Em All”. The band, in the album’s music, relishes some Speed Metal elements along with their Heavy Metal bombs like in “Party War” and “Rock N’ Roll Is Dead, Long Live Rock N’ Roll”. Here is another funny thought about the material… while listening to the album; you can actually measure the album’s heaviness, from the Glam / Hard Rocker, “Rock The City” till the closing Heavy Metal “Kill Em All”.

All Black Rain members are amazing, but there are two main reasons, in this reviewer’s bill, that makes this album tick and these are the two founding members, Swan and Max 2. Leaving aside their cool names, these gents made it through while uplifting their performance and making a charged release and a forthcoming classic to be. Swan, the vocalist and guitarist, is an 80’s vocalist without any doubt. His voice is wide-ranged with high-pitched turnouts that can drop some tears and unlike French oriented Metal singers, he sounds like the average American Joe. His style very much resembles Vince Neil of Mötley, Mark Slaughter of Slaughter and Tom Keifer of Cinderella. His, and his peer Max 2’s, guitar playing ability is excellent with some big numbered solos and attacking heavy riffs.

After all the analysis, here come the songs. Black Rain really did it, using the most important tools in Glam Metal music, which are catchiness and simplicity, to create one of the greatest Glam Metal albums in years. Although the dumb track, “Rockstars Don’t Go to Jail”, is somewhat a small failure – how dumb can you be with this title; the album itself is a market for many cool hits. The opener, “Rock The City” is a Mötley Crüe anthem. Starting with an exciting and crushing solo break, goes along with 80’s Glam riffs a’la Motley, and drives through with a catchy chorus. “Innocent Rosie” is the star of this release, presenting one of the best tunes of Swan as a vocalist. His high-pitched voice just reigns here. Swan and the others made this one a major number that they also shot a video for. “N.A.S.T.Y” and “True Girls Are Sixteen” are both flashy Glam tracks which continue the work. The self-titled song is a Heavy Metal song more so than the previous ones with great riffs. Like on every Glam album, there is a ballad, although it started a bit lame, the rest of it turns out to be very good. “Rock N’ Roll Is Dead, Long Live Rock N’ Roll” , “Party War” and “Kill Em All” are the heaviest of them all with outstanding music and vocals.

Black Rain has made so much since there first demo, Twilight, Rain And Darkness, which was more of a Speed / Power Metal release, they changed their looks and their style and made it through big time. All there is to say is that hopefully they will keep on doing so with excellence and they will be strolling on the golden path in no time.


  • Lior Stein

    Lior was a reviewer, DJ and host for our Thrash Metal segment called Terror Zone, based out of Haifa, Israel. He attributes his love of Metal to his father, who got him into bands like Deep Purple, Rainbow, Boston, and Queen. When he was in junior high he got his first Iron Maiden CD, The Number Of The Beast. That's how he started his own collection of albums. Also, he's the guitarist, vocalist and founder of the Thrash Metal band Switchblade. Most of his musical influences come from Metal Church, Vicious Rumors, Overkill, and Annihilator.

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