by Mark Allen
Staff Writer —
Juliet’s Vice might hail from Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love, but the only kind of love they seem to believe in is the kind that lurks in sin-shadowed back alleys and filth-strewn gutters. Nothing wrong with that; when you’re a sleaze metal band, nobody expects you to sing about the love of Jesus (come to think of it, Christian sleaze metal might be an untapped genre) or eternal romance sparked over a candlelight dinner. This is the band’s third album and they stick with the creed that if it ain’t broke then don’t fix it, cranking out another devilish dose of bad attitude and bad ass riffs.
Juliet’s Vice punched our collective cochlea last year with d.g.a.f. and leaned heavily on the slithering riffs of Guns N’ Roses while doing so. That style is still hanging around on this self-titled album, but the band has upped the heaviness factor by incorporating a thicker sound, adding some metal beef to bulk up their ‘80s hard rock foundation. As is often the case when rock bands turn to metal, some of the hooks have suffered in the transformation, but the heavier style and muscular bottom end is something Juliet’s Vice should definitely pursue further on future albums.
They should also pursue production improvement. Granted, the rough, raw aesthetics sort of fit the sleazy vibe the band is going for, but a little more polish would be appreciated. Slick and sleazy need not be contradictory adjectives. And the engineering is definitely sub par, the mix a bit too muffled and muddy. The sonic quality needs to be crisper for the songs to deliver maximum impact. That said, while the production is easy to criticize, it’s also easy to forgive, as this is an indie band whose recording budget was probably less than what Bret Michaels spends on hair extensions.
But if fans of pristine production aren’t going to be impressed, maybe fans of tear-it-up guitars will be. Because that’s what Dan Parsels and Damian MonteCarlo, who also share lead vocal duties, do with their axes: slam out some serious six-string savagery. Not the technical ego-masturbation of Malmsteen or Pell, but rather the sizzle and scorch necessary to bring a sleaze metal album to life. In other words, the guitar work here is not neat and neoclassical…it’s nice and nasty.
The songs consist of all rockers, no ballads. If you want to rock out with your balls out from start to finish, then Juliet’s Vice is your band. Take “Dirty Little Princess” for instance; this is sleaze metal of the highest order, easily the best song these guys have ever recorded. It’s got raunchy lyrics, politically-incorrect profanity, more attitude than a badger with a wasp stuck up its ass, and a hard rocking chorus ripped right out of the pages of the oldschool Sunset Strip handbook. Next up is “Tattoos n’ Pink,” the kind of fun, catchy little ditty that you find yourself humming after just one spin. If you’re looking for the heavier stuff, “You Don’t Own Me” gets the job done with powerful guitars, emphatic drumming, and lyrical eloquence along the lines of, “Bitch, I’ll see you in Hell.” Probably safe to say these guys don’t have day jobs writing for Hallmark.
Juliet’s Vice make no pretensions about who they are. They are sleaze metal, they are gutter rock, they are the spirited debauchery of the ‘80s given current incarnation with zero modern concessions. William Shakespeare once wrote, “’Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” Call Juliet’ Vice idiots and they’d probably smash your teeth down your throat with a broken beer bottle, but they are full of sound and fury that signifies nothing but a good time for sleaze metal enthusiasts.
Genre: Hard Rock, Sleaze Metal
Dan Parsels (guitars, vocals)
Damian MonteCarlo (guitar, vocals)
Joe Mal (bass)
Nicolino Maiellano (drums)
2. Dirty Little Princess
3. Tattoos n’ Pink
4. The Ones to Blame
6. Silver Screen
7. You Don’t Own Me
8. Broken Home
Hardrock Haven rating: 7/10