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Bad Bones: “High Rollers” is 5 star material!

Bad Bones blows the doors off the rest of the industry with their “High Rollers” album. What makes the Italian hard rock group so special is a combination of their musicianship and singing. These guys can really play their instruments and sing the roof off of any location. They have mastered melody, inventiveness and matched it with excellent chord progressions. They understand how bone-crushing guitar riffs hit the listener and create the power and angst just as much as sheer volume does. On top of that, Bad Bones’ tunes will have you singing along in the car, in the shower, at the gym, and rolling on down the highway. You name it. Their songs will do it. The whole album rocks and clearly separates itself from the current pack of corporate rockers. The four-piece unit forged in Cuneo (Italy) during 2007, blend classic sounds and styles that dominated the genre during the 70’s and 80’s, bringing it right into today’s modern rock idiom.

The Bad Bones lineup currently features Max Malmerenda on lead vocals, Sergio Aschieris on guitars, Steve Balocco on bass and backing vocals, and his brother Lele Balocco on drums. The album kicks off with the racing “American Days”, which blends a kind of Judas Priest rhythmic urgency with the stadium rock choruses of hair metal bands during the eighties.

“Lost Again” leans heavily on its driving guitar riffs and the soaring vocals, which once again show the band’s knack for hooky choruses. Harmonies abound, as Malmerenda’s vocals leads the charge. Aschieris’ fiery guitar solo does the rest to capture the listener’s attention.

I don’t care how much you love or hate this band, no one can deny that the music, production and overall layout of “High Rollers” is 5 star material. This is good, quality music, no two ways around it. Almost every track off this album has weight, and presents a different musical arrangement and vocal attitude.

At the same time, two common qualities are never missing from every song – high energy and strong melody. “Wild Rose” again transports us deep into the 80’s with another adrenalin-pumping showstopper that will have you singing along in no time. That is, if you can keep up with Max Malmerenda’s vocal range.

If you have any affinity for the Scorpions, “Midnight Rider” will blow your mind. Hardly have I heard a singer come as close as this to sounding like Klaus Meine. Malmerenda is completely in his element here, hitting his register with absolute ease, as he takes this song into standout status.

“Solitary Fields” shows off Malmerenda’s crystal clear lower register in the opening bars, before exploding into ecstasy, along with Sergio Aschieris’ guitar, and the rest of the arrangement. Thus far, musically this may be the best song on the album. It is wrapped up inside an atmospheric production, and embellished by some excellent instrumentation.

From start to finish, this album will keep you entertained, no filler, every song worth it. “Now or Never” with its addictive bass lines and monster riffs at each turn, all mimic the likes of mainstream rockers with a vengeance. “Blood Trails” is where Bad Bones, as a complete rock n’ roll unit, showcase their true colors, for me. Burgeoning guitar work, superlative drumming, animated basslines and towering vocals, exhibits every inch of talent the band possesses. And as if to prove that they are not a one-trick pony, “Wolf Town” produces much of the same rock n’ roll excellence of the previous track – dynamic rhythms, strongly textured guitar tones, and of course, superbly executed vocals.

On “Story of a Broken Bone”, Max Malmerenda steps forth with his typical combination of smooth, sonorous clean singing and raucous, gravelly grunts contrasting his high register melodies, creating a sense of emotion and vigor. Aschieris’ guitar work is on par as always, melding together traditional melodic riffs alongside a mesh of scrupulous soloing.  Steve Balocco on bass and Lele Balocco on drums make sure the engine room keeps the momentum of the song going.

“Rock’n Me” is a cover of the Steve Miller Band track, which can be found on the “Fly Like an Eagle” album. As can be expected, Bad Bones give the song the ‘grit and thrust’ treatment. Bad Bones know what they are good at doing and appear comfortable in delivering just that, all the way through this album. They are totally competent in every area of making their music and can be relied upon to deliver a solid collection of songs.

“High Rollers” out via Sliptrick Records, features some of the band’s very best tracks and is entertainingly catchy throughout its duration. In a world filled with the resurgence blends of nu metal, it’s nice to see a band who can change the cards, and come out with a good blend of mesmerizing hard rock. Bad Bones are currently the best band on block for the job!

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