Alcatrazz – V – 2021
Ever since I can remember I really liked Graham Bonnet’s voice. And I thought that a new Alcatrazz album is always welcome. You can only imagine my surprise when I realized that Graham Bonnet is no longer singing in the band. It’s a very strange experience. I mean, he more or less created the band and has been its central point for the entire existence of the band. It’s just wrong. I would compare it to the impossibility that Motörhead suddenly released an album without Lemmy. It’s just wrong! But things are the way things are. I didn’t get what I anticipated, but does that mean that it’s a bad album? Does it mean that the current singer Doggie White doesn’t do a good job as a singer?
Well, it’s quite obvious that it’s an Alcatrazz album. You can hear it without effort. There are guitar runs that are quite synonymous with the band’s historical sound. I mean there have been a few great guitarists in the band. And I mean really great and high regarded guitarists such as Yngwie Malmsteen and Steve Vai. So if Alcatrazz keeps the pace they need a really good guitarist for their sound. I guess they have sounded a little different depending on the guitarist. I mean, Steve Vai and Yngwie Malmsteen’s styles are not exactly similar. Om this album there are quite a few Yngwie-like runs on the guitar. I kinda like it. It tends to be a little unpersonal but there’s nice speed in the songs. Most of them anyway.
And Doggie White is a good if not great singer. There’s no doubt about that at all. He manages to perform the songs effortlessly. But it’s not quite Alcatrazz to me anyway. It doesn’t deliver what I wanted it to. It’s not bad at all really but it becomes a tribute band of sorts if you know what I mean. Doggie doesn’t sound a bit like Graham but is still a great singer. So the only problem I have with V is really the name of the band. Couldn’t that have called it Alcatrazz Mach II or something instead. I feel it’s kinda to deceive the fans. Do you remember when Kim Foley put out the Runaways album You and Fast with a pair of woman’s legs on the cover? If you do, you know that it had n-o-t-h-i-n-g to do with the all-girl band with Joan Jett and Lita Ford from the seventies. But it was designed to look like something the classic band released. At least for me but I might be more easily fooled than everyone else?
But what’s the bottom line? Well, it’s not a bad album. It sounds like Alcatrazz musically and Doggie White is a good singer. But is not what I expected and I’m a bit disappointed. I will keep a lookout for new releases with Graham Bonnets Alcatrazz which apparently is supposed to exist in parallel with this band. It’s a bit sad when the band split up and continue to tour under their own name but feel the need to also add their old band name. I usually mention the Sweet for reference and I will do it again this time. There were three bands touring with the ex-members of the original band. Andy Scott’s Sweet, Brain Connely’s Sweet, and Steve Priest’s Sweet. I don’t think Mick Tucker did any touring under his own name but I might be wrong.
Anyway. Give it a chance if you like but know that you might not get what you think.