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American Mafia: Made In New York City EP
American Mafia - Made In New York City EP CD Album Review

American Mafia: Made In New York City EP

Melodic Hard Rock
3.5/5.0

American Mafia was born out of the ashes of American cult band Holy Water, due to the death of vocalist David Knight in 2014. The band had collected all previous recordings for an archive collection before Knight passed. Regrouping, guitarist Tom Jude (ex-Doro Pesch) and bassist Freddy Villano (ex-Quiet riot/Widowmaker) gathered guest vocalists for the first American Mafia EP Rock N Roll Hit Machine, which garnered positive reviews. Now the band returns with a new EP, Made In New York City, with the addition of drummer Bobby Marks and featuring Don Chaffin (Vox/Red lamb) on vocals.

American Mafia Band Photo

American Mafia

The first EP incarnation of American Mafia was praised for the band's resurrection of classic American hard rock, a theme begun with Holy Water and continued with Made In New York City. Their sound is guitar-centered driven by crisp, brisk, and harmonious riffs, followed by solid solos, a necessary staple of melodic hard rock. After this, the vocals are clean and clear; Chaffin easily adds to and follows the melody inherent and every song. The rhythm section adds steady groove to propel the American Mafia sound.

As for the five songs within Made In New York City, three observations can be made. First, and obviously, the aforementioned elements are self-evident across all the songs. Second, there's some solid variety across the EP, which will be expanded upon in a moment. Third, and honestly, on the first spin, I found the EP somewhat of an unexplainable tedious listen. Not having heard the previous EP, I was expecting some groove busting and rousing melodic hard rock. Well, yes and no. Some of this is simply because I hear a latent blues groove underneath the songs. American Mafia rocks more heavy and steady like an American version of Bad Company.

For the song breakdown, Superstar moves steady and slow, with momentum gathering like moss on a rolling stone, yet the riffs and groove make the song. Both Gistified and Ride On Through give you that aforementioned heavy steady blues groove, though more upbeat and lively, especially in the latter song. Chaffin sounds passionate in both songs, something from earthy to bluesy to gritty. Lead The Way definitely sounds like a hard rock blues ballad, driven by a combination of acoustic guitar and tough riffs. Yet, at more than seven minutes it chugs along at long grinding pace. The last song When London Sleeps is probably what I expected from American Mafia and this EP to begin with, a melodic hard rocker with an abundance melody and harmony in the vocal and guitar parts driven by a terrific groove from the rhythm section. Conveniently, the song dials out with a classic blues conclusion.

Well, that's a lot to say about a five song EP. For classic American hard rock with a blues edge, American Mafia's Made In New York City pretty much nails it. Yet, after several spins I found myself still ambivalent about the album. Nevertheless, I think their fans will enjoy it. Check out the song below and get a taste of American Mafia.



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The Bottom Line

For classic American hard rock with a blues edge, American Mafia and their second EP, Made In New York City, pretty much nails it. Yet, after several spins I found myself still ambivalent about the album. You may feel differently.

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