"Wired in My Skin" (Alien Records; 2007)

Reviewed by Metal Mark

This is an album from veteran guitarist JK Northrup who had previously played with Northrup, King Kobra, XYZ and others in his 25-plus year music career.

Because he has played with so many different acts he knows a lot of people so he brought in several vocalists for this project including Kelly Keeling (Blue Murder, MSG, Baton Rouge, Trans Siberian Orchestra), Johnny Edwards (Montrose, Foreigner, Royal Jelly, King Kobra), Ted Poley (Danger Danger), Terry Ilous (XYZ, I.R.S.) and newcomer vocalist David Zaragoza (Category 7). 

There are eleven tracks total here including three instrumentals. Largely it's typical, but smooth, hard rock with the majority of the tracks sounding like they could have been recorded between, say, 1989 and 1991 as they thrive on large melodies and high production values. 

Using so many vocalists is a bit of a double-edged sword as it allows the album to have some different sounds because the singers have varied styles and ranges yet the album has a whole doesn't quite feel like a unit because of this approach. However that's probably minor because I enjoyed most of the songs as individual tracks. I think the pacing was right on for the most part. Despite having so many hands or voices in the mix, I would say it was a fairly tight album. 

The only song I wasn't huge on was "If I Were James Taylor I Could Finish This Song" which felt very awkward to me. The instrumentals allow JK a little room to spread out and roam a little more with his riffs and these three tracks tended to be some of the heavier ones on the album. 

Overall this was an ambitious project and mainly it succeeded in pulling me in. I just wish that I had discovered it a little sooner.

For more information, check out http://www.jknorthrup.com or http://www.myspace.com/jknorthrup

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 2008 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 06 Mar 2022 14:38:31 -0500.