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Album Review: Bad Bones – High Rollers

Bad Bones are one of those bands that greatly reflect the styles of ‘80s hard rock, but a few things help it be known that this is newer age music that likes to throwback. High Rollers just hit the scene this this year, and it isn’t just the production that makes it sound so modern. Instead, it’s the hints at alternative rock that break through, and despite heavily being ‘80s influenced, something like this couldn’t have come to life without going through the ‘90s as well.

For the most part, it reflects the common practices in glam metal, but it definitely doesn’t glitter up with any of the over the top stunts, and doesn’t have the classic metal craft that was present in most of those LA bands. Instead, these Italian rockers extract the higher falsettos voice patterns, the strong harmonics, and major keys to carry most of the weight, while stripping away the heavy bottom. The lyrics also focus a lot on love, life, and rocking. Of course, with this all said, nobody should expect it to be super heavy, and a lot of the riffs aren’t really constructed in traditional metal forms. So when push comes to shove, this is more of rock n roll album than anything. The only song that really screams metal is “Blood Trails.”

Ballads make their way onto here for sure, and they’re pretty good and written quite concisely.  As a matter of fact, this is where a lot of the ‘90s hints make their way in. “Wild Rose” and “Solitary Fields” use chord progressions that were super common in alternative rock of the time.  Blend this with the ‘80s rock attitude, and you’ve got a pretty different sounding approach. There’s a lot of feel good energy to be had with this, and makes for a pretty soothing ride. There’s no real force behind the singing either, so for those looking for something thunderous, look elsewhere.

As a whole, High Rollers is fairly vanilla and doesn’t hold many surprises once you get the album rolling. You can expect a guitar solo on almost every song, soft or hard. There’s not a shred of edge or anger to be found, and it’s very accessible. Not a whole lot you can do with this brand of rock, but it’s worth your time. The lead singer sounds a bit like Tom Keifer does in his softer work, or calmer Cinderella songs. Oh, and there’s also a bangin’ cover of Steve Miller Band’s “Rock’n Me” at the end. I’d recommend this to fans of Cinderella, Gin Blossoms, Bon Jovi, or Matchbox Twenty.

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