by Mark Allen
– Senior Columnist –
Recapturing the spirit of the ‘80s hard rock scene can be almost as difficult as trying to catch an eel after dunking your hands in Vaseline, but that doesn’t stop bands from trying. This time around it’s Brazil-based Slippery having a go at hair metal histrionics and doing so without one scintilla of originality or iota of individuality and about as much freshness as a pound of burger left in a sauna for a week. But that is exactly the point. Slippery freely admit they have about as much interest in carving out their own identity as a parochial school has in making Fifty Shades of Grey mandatory reading; they simply want to rock out, ‘80s style, and pay homage to the groups who inspired them.
Slippery does indeed sound like they recorded this album circa. 1986, but that could just as easily be dubbed a negative, because this album sounds very dated. Most bands embracing this retro style borrow the roots of the genre but upgrade the engineering; First Blow, however, legitimately sounds like it was recorded, produced, and released in the mid-‘80s. Put this on at a party and nobody will think it is a 2012 release. The production values are low budget and it all sounds a little average and simplistic, but Slippery no doubt did the best they could with limited funds. Not every band can afford Chris Laney…
Lead singer Fabiano Drudi sounds a little bit like Dee Snider, albeit with a more melodic edge to his vocals. His range seems to be a bit limited—he will not be giving Mike Matijevic a run for his money—but he manages to avoid being overly monotonous. The axe-work is actually pretty good, with plenty of sizzling solos to satisfy fans of the air guitar. The skin skills are fine, but the actual sound of the drums is a little weak, lacking the big, live, authoritative punch needed to slam home the rhythms.
In their quest to recreate the glory days of big hair and black leather, Slippery get some things right and other things… less than right. For example, the guitar lines are all crisp and clean and mega-melodic, the hooks are designed to be catchy in a basic, by the book kind of way, and there are layered harmonies juxtaposed with gang backing vocals to thicken up the choruses. Where the band errs is in the length of many of the songs; half these tracks wander past the five minute mark; two of them soar beyond six minutes, and one even smashes through the seven minute mark and keeps on a-truckin’. Longer might be better when it comes to corn dogs and sexual escapades, but not for this style of throwback rock, especially when the songs are so simplistically constructed.
That’s not to say there are not some good songs on tap. “First Blow,” for instance, sports the kind of Def Leppard vibe the band claims they were aiming for all along, built around an infectious beat, an over-the-top chorus, and gang vocal “Whoas!” that serve as a jolt of rock ‘n’ roll adrenalin. Had all the tunes been of this caliber, this album would have been a hotter commodity. Next up is “Sons of Freedom (Wild At Heart)” which turns out to be the heaviest track and features some aggressive vocals from Drudi, followed by “Out of the Light” which keeps the heaviness factor amped up, a bona fide metal anthem with a fist-pumping, shout-it-out chorus.
The overall impression of Slippery is that they are decent enough but riding right on the edge of blandness and banality. They deserve kudos for their desire to emulate their ‘80s hair metal heroes, but even back in those glory days of the genre, this would have been third tier stuff, more opening act than headliner. Despite the best of intentions, the band fails to score a knockout blow with this album, instead delivering a routine jab that connects without leaving much of an impression.
Genre: Melodic Hard Rock, Hair Metal
Fabiano Drudi (lead and background vocals)
Dragao (lead and rhythm guitars, background vocals)
Kiko Shred (lead and rhythm guitars, background vocals)
Erico Moraes (bass guitar, background vocals)
Rod Rodriguez (drums and cymbals, background vocals)
1. Follow Your Dreams
3. Two Young Hearts
4. Another Chance
5. No Time To Sorrow
6. Run For Reaction
7. The First Blow
8. Sons of Freedom (Wild At Heart)
9. Out of the Light
10. What I Need
11. Night of the Demon
Hardrock Haven rating: 6.7/10