Review Summary: Even at its weakest moments, the listener is not alienated from the overall material in The Answer's fifth studio album.
When the Northern Irish quartet started its rock n roll journey in 2006 one thing was in their minds: continue the legacy of classic rock heroes before them. Their debut Rise
immediately caught attention and earned them illustrious titles such as 'Album Of The Year' and "Best British Newcomer". On a heavier tone, their sophomore album Everyday Demons
was released three years later and this earned them a place along the big boys. Opening for AC/DC on their Black Ice World Tour could not be a better time for exposure. This exposure brought experience, maturity and success, three ingredients that comprise in a nutshell Revival
. However, problems with their label and a subsequent switch led the band to release their fourth studio album -quite reasonably- under the name New Horizon
in 2013. Now, two years later the pattern is kept steadily and Cormac with his mates record Raise a Little Hell
When an album starts with that repetitive, pompous bass drum beat going 'bam-bam-bam' two things happen: an extension of your body starts a rhythmic moving and excitement overcomes you. Add a seductive bass solo in that thumping and by the end of such song, your expectations are raised. In an nutshell, this is what the rebellious intro song 'Long Live The Renegades' sounds like. Thankfully, the riffing doesn't stop there. The Airborne-like 'Whiplash' together with the similarly-minded 'I am Cured' and the energetic 'Aristocrat' have the precise dose of energy in their formula to make crowds jump rhythmically up and down in concerts.
However, it's not only the vibrant songs that make Raise a Little Hell
a comprehensive release, but also the versatile material included. Take for example 'Last Days of Summer' which has Godsmack's 'Voodoo' kind-of heaviness or 'I Am What I Am'; a passionate rocker with light touches of glam-rock capable enough to remind you Motley Crue in their glory days. Ballads also have some representatives here, but not in the shape of the hyper-emotional/agonising usual kind-of stuff. The slick acoustic melody of 'Strange Kinda Nothin' is equally captivating as the velvety-opening guitar chords of 'The Other Side'. The only difference is, that in the latter one the chords are transformed in a matter of seconds transforms in a ferocious yet groovy riff which stays trapped in your ears for the next half hour.
Consequently, The Answer present their best work to date as this record pushes the band one step further. Yet, they have not become an established act capable to fill arenas or headline festivals. They must first exit their comfort zone. This would require dropping generic riffs and banal lyrics ('Gone Too Long', 'Cigarettes & Regrets') and eliminate every possibility of fillers. Otherwise, Raise a Little Hell
will become their epitaph.