While thrash metal is far past its prime, it still has a whole slew of followers, and younger bands in the making here in 2018. On the other hand, it’s far more rare that you see young people crazy about glam/hair/pop metal, or hard rock, or however you choose to label it. L.A. Guns had a few big records in the late ’80s and early ’90s, but they somewhat fell off of the radar after that. Fortunately, there are the rare cases like me who dig around for new material by these older fluffy bands, and younger copycats alike. But as I’ve said, vocalist Phil Lewis and guitarist Tracii Guns have been around for quite some time. The Missing Peace is their eleventh studio album, and hit the market late last year. Despite the reputation that bands of this kind tend to have in the metal community, The Missing Peace actually holds up very well. It’s still got some sleaze, it’s still got some energy, and it’s still got some hooks, so the main ingredients are all present.
One key difference between the newer writing style of L.A. Guns and the older is a common one among this genre, and it’s the fact that they stick to writing more encouraging things, and somewhat poke fun at their old selves. Instead of hitting the sex, drugs, and booze all over the place, they actually construct around some of the ridiculousness of society, and take sides against drugs. One of the singles released was “Speed,” which pretty clearly touches on this. On the same note, it’s still fast, fun, and contains pretty solid riff construction as well as working in a tight solo. Obviously, with today’s technology, this disc can be produced to new levels, which makes the music more clear and consistent, but at the same time takes away from the attitude that this band once had. It’s worth noting that Phil’s voice box has a harder time reaching the higher notes. The singing style is still unique, but often times it will fizzle out, and it relies solely on the clean production job. Not bad by any means, but not quite Cocked And Loaded quality.
Know what never dies? The inclusion of a power ballad, and if you’re anything like me, you’ll see that as no problem, but an enhancement. “Christine” is the standout title that takes this by the horns, and boy does it ever deliver! Harmonics are used as a primary guide, acoustic backing lays the groundwork, and emotional delivery tops it all off. Are some of the lyrics a bit corny? Probably, but isn’t that what it was all about? Essentially, you get both sides of the 80s hard rock/glam metal coin on here. There’s a lot of rockers that take the energy to pretty fun levels, as well as some forgettable moments that could have easily been clipped out. Fans of the ’80s Sunset Strip scene, hard rock, or even L.A. Guns fans that didn’t bother to seek this out should give this a spin. For a band that hasn’t made much of a mark in decades, The Missing Peace is pretty good.