Review by Greg Maki
I didn’t see this one coming.
Though he’s led a varied career, we all know Dee Snider as the voice and (painted) face of Twisted Sister, which hit the peak of its popularity in the 1980s (and enjoyed a successful run well into the 21st century, it’s worth noting). Whether you’re a fan or not, there’s no denying that musically, Snider forever will be linked to a very specific time. So I doubt anyone predicted he would make one of the best metal albums of 2018.
“For the Love of Metal” is Snider’s fourth solo release, and I’ll confess to not hearing anything from the first three. Produced and largely written by Hatebreed vocalist Jamey Jasta, the record also features contributions from Howard Jones (Light the Torch, ex-Killswitch Engage), Mark Morton (Lamb of God), Alissa White-Gluz (Arch Enemy), Joel Grind and Nick Bellmore (Toxic Holocaust), and Charlie Bellmore (Kingdom of Sorrow).
It’s very much a contemporary metal album, and though Snider didn’t write a single note or lyric, it’s a perfect match of performer and material. Singing in a lower register than he did when he wasn’t gonna take it, Snider’s voice is strong and powerful—muscular is a word that keeps coming to mind as I listen to it. He sounds fantastic.
Musically, the songs range from mid-tempo chuggers that lay on the heavy grooves to full-throttle thrashers akin to some of Judas Priest’s more recent material. (There’s another act going stronger in 2018 than probably any of us thought possible.) With only one of its 12 tracks topping four minutes, this is a tightly focused effort that isn’t interested in being anything other than metal, subgenres be damned. Standout tracks include the rapid-fire opener “Lies are a Business;” “Dead Hearts (Love Thy Enemy),” with Snider sharing vocals with White-Gluz; and the ferocious title track.
As the title suggests, this album is a celebration of metal. Snider sums it up best with the record’s final words: “I do it for the love of metal/There’s no other way/I do it for the love of metal/It gives me strength.” This is what it means to be a metalhead; I don’t know if anyone has ever said it better. Horns up!
(Napalm Records, July 27, 2018)