New Music Review: MICHAEL MONROE “Blackout States”

REVIEW – Expectations are clear when hearing the new release from Michael Monroe, entitled “Blackout States” released on October 9th, 2015 on the Spinefarm label. If you’ve followed Michael’s career from his early days in Hanoi Rocks, his appearances with his pal, Axl Rose, and his respectable and prolific solo career, including the wonderful single, “Man With No Eyes”, then you know that he doesn’t mess with the formula too much. Bassist Sami Yaffa, Monroe’s longtime bandmate going back to the Hanoi Rocks days, is faithfully present. Karl Rockfist (Danzig/Joan Osbourne) very adequately finishes out the rhythm section on drums. Rounding out the band is guitarist, Rich Jones, formerly of The Black Halos.

To only say that it’s a great album, isn’t fair to the bigger picture. Let’s face it, none of us are getting younger, but Mr. Monroe seems to be defying, or at least aging very slowly, as it seems that one is transported back in time when soaking in rockers like the album’s lead-off track, “This Ain’t No Love Song”, “The Bastard’s Bash”, “Six Feet In The Ground”, and the awesomely punky, “R.L.F.” (I now cannot say that title without throwing my horns in the air and yelling “ROCK! LIKE FUCK!”)

It’s about as wonderful as it gets to hear new rock n’ roll music, as a nod to Elwood Blues: “You never get a chance to hear master rock musicians practicing their craft anymore”. If solid, old-school rock with big guitars still moves you like it does me, then I can’t recommend this album enough.

***2018 edit: I just learned that the late and wonderful Dee Dee Ramone wrote the song “Under the Northern Lights”. Given the fact that I’ve been a massive Ramones fan since I knew who they were, and all of the original Ramones are gone, it hits home and is a little special to hear from Dee Dee from beyond the unknown.

MICHAEL MONROE “Blackout States”

1. This Ain’t No Love Song” 2:38
2. Old King’s Road 3:23
3. Goin’ Down With The Ship” 4:26
4. Keep Your Eye On You 3:35
5. The Bastard’s Bash 3:57
6. Good Old Bad Days 3:15
7. R.L.F. 2:13
8. Blackout States 4:07
9. Under the Northern Lights 2:35
10. Permanent Youth 3:07
11. Dead Hearts on Denmark Street 2:45
12. Six Feet in the Ground 2:52
13. Walk Away 3:03

• Michael Monroe – lead vocals
• Steve Conte – guitars
• Rich Jones – guitars
• Sam Yaffa – bass
• Karl Rockfist – drums

• Rich Jones – artwork
• Ville Juurikkala – photography
• Chips Kiesbye – producer
• Petri Majuri – mixing