We All Know Dee Snider, Right?
Is there anyone who is reading this that doesn’t know the name, Dee Snider? Or would it help if I wrote Dee “Fucking” Snider? I would be surprised if there was. A man who was part of one of the most intense, most over the top yet wonderfully fun and entertaining band known as Twisted Sister who have songs that are still played in pubs, clubs and very much on rock radio. Dee is to singing what Brian Blessed is to acting, yes he is loud, in your face and never drops down the decibel meter unless really needed.
Leave A Scar is the second solo album in conjunction with Jamey Jasta frontman of hardcore outfit Hatebreed. The difference this time is that Dee has been involved more having written (or co-written) the songs this time around. Both Bellmore brothers are here again (that being Charlie from Toxic Holocaust on guitars and Nick from Kingdom Of Sorrow on drums). The album is his take on the pandemic. The mental health effects from it and fighting to get life back to normal. Finding positives in as many places as possible whilst hurling some abuse at unnamed persons! There are 12 songs in all, most of which are headbanging, fist throwing material attached to huge hooks and choruses. So no change there then. There is no attempt to reinvent the wheel. Just mostly old-school metal mixed with some more modern shouty hardcore choir singing in the background.
Opening song has been out for a few weeks as the single release in advance of the album. The song captures the mood of rock and metal fans everywhere. “I Gotta Rock (Again)” comes straight out the gates with heavy riffs, pounding drums and a huge Dee Snider vocal scream. “Gonna ride it ‘til I’m gone, for as long as I’m breathing” he belts out with huge conviction, rocking is “his life” (as it is for CGCM staff and our readers) so these are lyrics that resonate. It has been way too long since we all got to do what we love and by God when we do, just like Dee, we will make some noise when it happens!
Thrash Influences Yet Still Old School Dee:
Some of the material heads into thrash metal, however, due to the strength and cleanliness of his vocals and his remarkable ability to write a melody and a chorus most of the songs are still very accessible to general rockers who grew up on Twisted Sister (hell some of their stuff was pretty bloody heavy and dark, I mean “Burn In Hell” anyone?). “All Or Nothing More” is full-on heavy riffage with some punky chanted vocals, especially in the pre-chorus. There is quite a tidy bass solo/riff moment on here from Russell Pzutto as well. I thought of the more late 80s Suicidal Tendencies and or Anthrax at points. “The Reckoning” is another thrasher, angry and dark lyrically as well. Dee sounds mightily pissed off here at someone, but no names are given, however, I wouldn’t want to be that person as he growls his vocals intensely.
Probably the least commercial song, which might be surprising considering that “Time To Choose” has shared vocals with the lead vocalist from Cannibal Corpse (yeah really, surprised me to be sure)! George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher does a good number of answers in the call and response sections as well as helping out at points in the chorus. Some folks will, of course, hate it if they don’t like growled vocals. But it is at least a bit different and taking a chance with his main audience. Some of the one-word growled responses could be picked up by audiences if he performs this live onstage. Which would be cool.
Some of the songs have a touch of power metal in the choruses whilst still being 100% Dee Snider songs. They tend to be mixed in with that 1980s classic rock sound (of course). “Down But Never Out” is a great song, really uplifting. This song is another example of how Dee can pen a song that can mean different things whilst sounding simple, anyone who has seen the video of him doing “We’re Not Going To Take It” for a cancer charity, turning it into a song of determination and hope for sufferers, making the song sound completely different, will understand the point I am trying to make. Lyrics saying we can “never stop, we’ve got to fight, we’re never lost if we can see the top” are very much left open to the listener in their personal fights with any demons or issues they may have.
“Before I Go” seems to have a message encouraging us to think of others, especially at times like these. The line “from the cradle to the grave, our fate depends on those we save” really grabbed me, and with the song talking about “angels” and how they (if they existed) look down from above and can see the whole picture suggesting that should also be our aim. This is almost a power ballad but with serious balls and a strong message. It also has some of my favourite drum fills going on in the latter part of the song.
Other Influences, But Still Dee “Fucking” Snider:
There are hints of other artists here, some seem to almost be homages (if I am correct) like a hint of Black Sabbath in “Open Season” and AC/DC on “Crying For Your Life” which also has a slight refrain from “Test For Echo” by Rush during the refrain “you did the crime, now do the time” which sort of is the opposite of the line “can’t do the time? Don’t do the crime“. Another song that could be used in all sorts of trying circumstances is “Silent Battles” which could refer to health issues whether physical or mental and has the line saying “rising bravely to face this new day with hope” which resonated with me.
Final Thoughts SMF:
Anyone who loves Dee‘s voice and strong infectious anthemic metal songs with great solos, a solid rhythm section pounding away will enjoy this album. It is a fine addition to his catalogue and holds up well to the best of it for me. There is enough kick to it, it is heavy yet commercial. Some of the songs are a bit repetitive lyrically but not so much they actually get annoying. More or less every song could be a crowd-pleaser live. Whether at his own gigs or a festival, which is always good. It proves he doesn’t need to just live off past glories live. He has the songs going forward to create new and enjoyable setlists. Good to have him back once again kicking our sick mother fucking asses!