The second these guys issued their eponymous 1988 debut, they established themselves as the undisputed kings of Sunset Strip sleaze metal.
The second these guys issued their eponymous 1988 debut, they established themselves as the undisputed kings of Sunset Strip sleaze metal. A little too heavy to be glam, and perhaps not quite heavy enough to be punk, L.A. Guns (featuring "Sex Action," "One More Reason," and "Electric Gypsy") was a kick in the pants to the glam-metal scene that the band was dumped into and an exhilarating, instant favorite for serious metalheads. And so it was disheartening to hear the band continue to lose more and more of its edge with each subsequent release (despite scoring its biggest commercial success with its second effort, Cocked & Loaded). Waking the Dead stands to begin to restore the faith of many of those who are still listening. First track "Don't Look at Me That Way," will certainly catch the ears of early fans. Heavy, yet tuneful, and seemingly sprinkled with touches of Iron Maiden, the cut recaptures that edge. And the second track, "OK, Let's Roll," is a surprisingly moving and venomous tribute to Sept. 11 hero Todd Beamer, which hopefully won't go unnoticed. While the album tends to get rather repetitious and cliché thereafter, Waking the Dead certainly seems to suggest that better things are on the horizon for the band, which—regardless of what you think of it or its genre—deserves some respect for pounding out its brand of metal regardless of how in or out of fashion it seems to be.—WO