"The Carnival" (Spider Rock; 2013)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

"The Carnival," by Collateral Damage, is hard rock in the vein of 80s W.A.S.P., a band who -- interestingly enough -- had an album themselves called "Inside the Electric Circus." But I digress. We're talking about Collateral Damage here, and their 2013 release "The Carnival."

The music on "The Carnival" flashes back to the era when Quiet Riot was at the top of the charts, and the radio was filled with songs by Ratt, Motley Crue and Poison. But "The Carnival" wouldn't have been one of those albums that was popular with the mainstream music audience, who were just fair weather friends, along for the metal ride because it was the current hot thing. Instead, "The Carnival" would have been one of those albums that was popular with the hard core metal audience, just like bands like Saxon, Grim Reaper and Rage. Bands that you didn't know about until you really dug into the genre, and then realized what else you were missing out there.

For the most part, "The Carnival" is a guitar-driven album, packed with chunky riffs and flashy leads. Like most hard rock albums of the 80s and 90s, there are a couple of slower, cleaner "ballads" thrown in but most of the tracks are solid hard rockers. There aren't a lot of hooks here but, depending on your taste, that can be either a good or a bad thing.

The production is a little muddier than I would have liked. In fairness, part of the attraction of lesser-known bands was the lack of slick, super-clean production. But "The Carnival" could have sparkled just a little bit more. The production here isn't bad ... it just could have been better.

Bottom line: Would I recommend Collateral Damage's "The Carnival"? Absolutely. It's a more than passable collection of old school rockers that reminds me of the bands I went out discovered on my own, after being introduced to hard rock and heavy metal by the huge national acts.

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.


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Copyright 2013 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 09 Dec 2018 12:03:12 -0500 .