The lead singer and namesake of Michael Monroe rose to fame during his days with 80’s hard rock band Hanoi Rocks. Joined by seasoned rockers Sami Yaffa, Karl Rockfist, Rich Jones, and Steve Conte, Michael brings us his newest album, Blackout States. It’s been two years since the band released Horns and Halos, which was well-received by fans and critics alike. Now, with decades of experience and inspiration under their belts, Michael Monroe has found a comfortable style that blends together the best of their work.
Blackout States draws from contemporary and classic rock, and throws in a little punk here and there. It’s clear Yaffa and Monroe remember their Hanoi Rocks days fondly, judging by the strong similarities between the works in terms of genre and even structure. Yet Horns and Halos was a step in a much harder direction. While still melodic, the album is much more aggressive. Hanoi Rock’s sound is much more bouncy, and has a strong pop influence. Both of these experiences are reflected in Blackout States, dropping it in the place between edgy and fun.
The energy and lyrics are exactly what you would expect from an 80’s rocker and his band of veterans: rebellious, vivacious, and loud. If you need any more motivation to drive around with your friends and burn shit, look no further.
The only thing lacking on the album is variety. While cohesiveness is indeed a very important part of songwriting and album construction, there’s a regrettable lack of diversity on a track-to-track basis. There isn’t one song that distinguishes itself from the rest, but of course, there’s something to be said for finding something that works and running with it. And works, this does.
Younger musicians worrying about the permanence of their career should find hope in Blackout States. Monroe entered his 50’s a minute ago, and he’s not only putting out music and performing, he’s still evolving as an artist. Michael Monroe is proof that no band should be limited by numbers (least of all age), and Blackout States is proof that hard rock still has some spunk