"Animal" (Locomotive; 2004)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

"Animal" is a collection of dynamic heavy metal tunes that wear their influences on their sleeve. In this case, that's a good thing - Easy Rider is a solid band who don't just imitate those who have proceeded them but instead use what they've learned from the Iron Maidens, the Helloweens and the Scorpions of the world to create a sound of their own that fits the genre like the proverbial glove.

"Animal" begins with "Visions," a song that sounds like classic Armored Saint. "Chasing Demons" and "Casting the Shadow of Sin" are next and both bring to mind Iron Maiden (especially the latter). "Walls of Hatred" will blow you away with its solid chunks of guitar power. "A New Day" is a measured rocker that packs the wallop of a weighted boxing glove.

Those are just a few of the memorable tracks on "Animal." Throughout, the band only slows down a couple of times, most notably on "Future Kill" and the final track, the nine-minute epic "The Dream Lives On" (which starts out explosively and then fades into something more gentle mid-stream ... almost like another track has been tacked on at the end. (Maybe it's an unlisted bonus track?).

Interestingly, Easy Rider is a Spanish band with an American singer. You'd never know there were thousands of miles between the bandmembers' homelands. Easy Rider is a well-oiled rock'n'roll machine. Vocalist Ron Finn has a hell of a set of pipes that fall somewhere between the Bruce Dickinson and Rob Halford ranges while the band is tight and talented.

If there's any complaint here it's that the last half of the CD aren't quite as strong as the first half. Then again, that may be just because the first half is so damn strong.

Easy Rider: Ron Finn - vocals; Javier Villanueva - Guitar; Daniel Castellanos - Guitar; José Villanueva - bass; Rafa Díaz - drums. 

For more information, check out http://es.geocities.com/easyriderwebpage2003

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 © 2004 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.