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Freakshow: Freakshow

Freakshow: Freakshow

Hard Rock
Rating: 4.0/5.0

Freakshow's roots are in Miss Crazy vocalist and guitarist Markus Allen Christopher's desire for a solo project. What developed is a new collaboration, and possible super group, with Frankie Banali (Quiet Riot) on drums, Jeff La Bar (Cinderella) on lead guitar, and Tony 'The Fretless Monster' Franklin (The Firm, Blue Murder) on bass. Given their former ventures, you can probably guess where Freakshow is going musically. Actually they state best themselves on their Myspace account: 'old school is the new school.' Freakshow is fast-lane, full adrenaline arena rock with a firm anchor in the 1980's. If Led Zeppelin and Motley Crue had a bastard child it might sound like Freakshow.

The 80's LA rock influence (Crue not being the only one) permeates this debut with every song having a brisk pace and strong rock groove. But often that groove, found in the dynamic rhythm section, is as hearty as any blues (without necessarily being blues) based thing Zep could have done. Add to this Christopher's vocal style which sounds like Plant mixed with Vince Neil or Bret Michaels, and you have a brilliant and formidable combination. Honestly, I can't say enough about the Banali-Franklin connection; not to diss the work of Christopher and La Bar, but Banali and Franklin steal the show. They are that good!

Overall, Freakshow is a balanced work: good, lively, and fundamentally fun rock and roll. Highlights include Welcome to the Freakshow, Everyone, Ripper and the elusive last track Mistaken. Yet there are some downsides which are ever so slight. There's a redundant pattern latter in the album between Looking Back At Me and Mistreat Me that is bit monotonous. Christopher's vocals can also be monotonous without the fine vocal arrangements found on most songs. Finally, unless my ears (and mind) have tricked me, Freakshow rips off Led Zep in some form or another, most noticeably on It's Really Over which sounds suspiciously like Kashmir. But, hey, like someone once said, 'all the great riffs in rock have been written already, we're just embellishing them.'

The bottom line: Freakshow is great melodic, arena ready, hard rock. This is why we listen to rock in the first place: it's grand, groove driven, let's live music. It's not the modern angst driven, navel gazing, bullsh*t we're getting from the corporate labels today. Rock on! Very recommended!

In Short

The bottom line: Freakshow is great melodic, arena ready, hard rock. This is why we listen to rock in the first place: it's grand, groove driven, let's live music. It's not the modern angst driven, navel gazing, bullsh*t we're getting from the corporate labels today. Rock on! Very recommended!

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