L.A. Guns - The Devil You Know

L.A. Guns The Devil You Know cover
L.A. Guns
The Devil You Know
Frontiers Music srl
Since getting back together under the L.A Guns banner, the duo of the primary proponents have stayed togethers while the rest of the band has changed around them. There’s even the Steve Riley version of the band, which sort of existed before the merger but continued to perform as well. The more famous lineup has released so far the excellent “The Missing Peace” back in 2017, as well as a live album recorded in Milan last year, only to follow those up with a new album earlier this year.
The “Devil You Know” is a logical successor to “The Missing Peace”. Lewis sounds energized as hell, positively on fire on most of the tracks here and Guns, is really orgiastic on leads. He also seems to make a good combination with Faster Pussycat’s Ace Von Johnson, who joined the band last year. Elsewhere Johnny Martin on bass guitar and Shane Fitzgibbon on drums sound pretty tight together although at the time of writing the latter has been replaced by well-known and much traveled Scot Coogan.
On this, their twelfth release, the band is particularly true to their gritty glam histrionics, but their raw attitude and energy has been honed by the countless years of performing and distilled in its purest and finest form.
Opener “Rage” comes screaming and shooting out of the woodwork to make you dance like a man whose hair and pants alike, are on fire!
“Stay Away” is heavier, but no less edgy for that. Its riff is nasty and its hook – despite being too cool to bother, it has a characteristic melody that Lewis spits out with bile.
“Loaded Bomb” has some funky rock ‘n roll guitars, but screaming glam rocking vocals, that would make any 80s hair rocker effin jealous. Insanely catchy.
Corabi era Motley Crue was the first thing that came to my mind while listening to the title track, “The Devil You Know”, only with an escalating riff that the Motts would have killed to have come up with.
“Needle to the Bone” might have a lick that you surely have heard before, but that’s not necessarily bad, since it works unlike the heavy/groovy screamathon that follows it in the form of “Going High”. The solo is worthwhile and its impressive to hear Lewis, spilling his guts out vocally, but it’s a little too monotonous to have a lasting effect.
Thankfully “Gone Honey” with is looser and more timid nature, manages to smooth things out.
“Don’t Need to Win” is much rawer, especially vocally, but it ain’t too bad overall. Not great either – a sign of the album slowly losing steam.
“Down That Hole” feels like it is on a creative freefall initially, but somehow it manages to come up with a chorus that’s too interesting to ignore…
“Another Season in Hell” is a slower, hurt half power ballad that showcases both Guns chops and Lewis’s ability to adapt his vocal style to fit the style of each song.
“Boom” is a thumbing and cocksure, mid-tempo wimpy symphony of cacophonic screaming, which has the right attitude to bring this album to a close.
A live version of “Killing Machine” (a pretty old tune) – persumably from last year’s recordings, is also supplied as some sort of bonus and it’s welcome, although it has little to do with the rest of the album and it’s more insane and speedinous nature makes it an odd fit at the tail end of the CD.
Take it for what it is… just like the album. The Devil you know best, being great at his usual devilry.