I'll give them this: 77 has their hearts and guitars in the right place on their second release, High Decibels. With their classic Seventies hard rock sound, I'm sure the knobs on all their amps 'go to eleven'. They've been compared to Bon Scott-era AC/DC and, indeed, that was my first impression.
The problem, however, is this, excepting a few songs, High Decibels comes across as dull and lifeless. Whether this is the fault of a poor producer, mix, or the band not having enough beers available in the studio, the energy, in most cases, is flat.
By example, Are You Ready for Rock 'n' Roll, you would think, should be some kick ass, fire in the belly, romp. It's not. Then there's High Decibels, too long, or The Girl Is On Fire, but the song is not. Meltin' In A Spoon lumbers along with a sullen clarity.
But there are glimmers of hope. Gimme A Dollar brings the fire and bravado; it's a sold heavy rock tune. Things You Can't Talk About starts a bit troubling, then rips it up to finish. Surprisingly, the opus, Promised Land, at better than eight minutes, finds the band lively and versatile, a sort of early AC/DC meets some Grand Funk Railroad. Fundamental to 77's strength is Armand Valeta's firm vocal style and LG Valeta's crisp fret work.
Ultimately, not dismissing their desire or enthusiasm, if 77 is after Seventies boogie/blues/hard rock, akin to early AC/DC, they're on the right path. Unfortunately, the right path was not through the studio this time: it stole their fire. In the studio they seemed to have walked into a black hole, and the wind (and their Jack Daniels) was sucked out of them. Nevertheless, I can easily imagine that this band kicks some serious ass when playing live. Check them out.
Ultimately, not dismissing their desire or enthusiasm, if 77 is after Seventies boogie/blues/hard rock, akin to early AC/DC, they're on the right path. Unfortunately, the right path was not through the studio this time: it stole their fire.
Mat Sinner is both an icon and legend in the German, and the larger European, hard rock and heavy metal scene. Cranking out music since 1982, Sinner is an industrious and prolific musician and producer whether through his namesake band, the heavy metal heroes Primal ... [ Read More ]