by Mark Allen
– Senior Columnist —
Should someone walk up to you and say, “If Laney’s Legion appears on any Top Ten lists at the end of the year, I’ll eat my shorts,” go ahead and take the bet, because when December rolls around, you’ll enjoy watching them chow down on their own skid marks.
For connoisseurs of the genre, this album is a melodic rock wet dream given sonic incarnation. Chris Laney is already a legend and this latest effort only serves to seal his legacy. Anyone who fails to add it to their collection deserves a swift kick to the coconuts. Hell, maybe two kicks.
What makes Laney’s Legion so good? One could simply reply, “It’s Chris Laney, mofos!” and call it a day, but in the interest of professional (okay, semi-professional) journalism, let’s wax a bit more specific, shall we?
Simply put, this album features so many hooks that only the word “plethora” will suffice to describe the quantity. As for the quality … well, “killer” will do quite nicely. Oh, it also has Rob Marcello on guitars. If you’ve never heard of Marcello, stop reading this review, slap yourself no less than seven times across the face, then go check out his superb work with Danger Danger, Ron Keel, and Michael Bormann.
This is Swedish melodic hard rock done right and the mind boggles at rumors that multiple labels declined the album. Even in the melodic rock realm, there is a ton of dreck that gets released on major labels, so for a release of this caliber to experience difficulty securing a deal is a real head scratcher.
This is one of those rare “all killer, no filler” albums. That said, some tracks rise above the rest. For example, “Taste of Your Tongue” is suffused with a swaggering rhythm, an insanely catchy chorus, and just oozes sexual innuendo. Okay, maybe “innuendo” is the wrong word, since lyrics like “how can I resist you when your panties hit the floor?” are not exactly subtle. In other words, this is not Stryper-approved, but Steel Panther give it a big thumbs—or some other anatomical appendage—up.
“Bleed Within” is a bold rock ballad that borrows from Def Leppard without resorting to outright mimicry. Saccharine harmonies slathered atop a huge, soaring chorus … this is how you do a ballad and the result is an album highlight. If there is a negative to be heard, it would be the touch of country guitar, but that is easily overlooked, a paltry pimple on an otherwise flawless piece of melodic rock art.
“Legion” reigns as the heaviest track, a rousing, rip-roaring head-banger reminiscent of Laney’s work with Animal. It’s a metal extravaganza with pummeling riffs, but the sledgehammer is counter-balanced by Laney’s trademark melodies. And as this is the closing track, it’s really cool to see a band eschewing the quiet fade in favor of going out with the volume maxed.
Legions of melodic hard rock albums will be released this year, but few as excellent as this one. Put the top down on the convertible and cruise the beach with this bad boy blasting from the speakers for a rocking good time. And when people stop to ask you the name of that awesome band you’re listening to, just smile and shout, “It’s Laney’s Legion, mofos!”
Genre: Melodic Hard Rock
Chris Laney (lead vocals, guitar)
Rob Marcello (guitar, vocals)
Mats Vassfjord (bass, vocals)
Patrick Jansson (drums, vocals)
1. On and On
2. Taste of Your Tongue
4. Beneath the Surface
5. Bleed Within
6. Let’s Get It On
8. Lady Luck
9. Assassin of Our Love
10. No One Can Stop Us
Label: Perris Records
Hardrock Haven rating: 9/10