"We are the Ones" (EarMusic; 2016)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

Dee Snider, lead vocalist for the legendary heavy metal band Twisted Sister, returns with his third solo CD and the bottom line is, if you like Dee, you're gonna like this CD, too.

"We are the Ones" is mostly solid rockers, perhaps not quite as heavy as your typical Twisted Sister song but solid enough. What's interesting is that the album reminds me of a late era Alice Cooper album, like "Lace and Whiskey" or "The Last Temptation." The songs are mostly hard rock songs -- really not heavy metal songs -- and there are a few times that Dee takes it in a direction you're not expecting. Perhaps not as far as his last solo album, "Dee Does Broadway," but more in a hard rock direction in the vein of the aforementioned Alice Cooper or even (gasp!) Bon Jovi.

Interestingly, the anthem style that Dee is so great at creating and performing is all over this album, despite the sonic changes. 

Also included on this album is the acoustic version of Twisted Sister's classic song, 'We're Not Gonna Take It.," a track that will benefit Criss Angel's HELP (Heal Every Life Possible) charity. It's basically just Dee and a piano. If you, like me, laughed when you first heard about this, I urge you to give it a chance. Amazingly, the song is just as powerful, perhaps in a different way, than the original Twisted Sister version, especially if you watch the video that Angel directed for the song.

"We are the Ones" may not be the Dee Snider you're expecting from Twisted Sister, but you won't be disappointed. It's another reminder that, no matter how ridiculous Dee and the guys may have looked when Twisted Sister began, these are a group of musicians with real talent. "We are the Ones" is just further evidence of that.

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"Never Let the Bastards Wear You Down" (Koch; 2000)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

The ten songs on this CD were written by Twisted Sister frontman Dee Snider for various projects throughout the years. These are his favorite songs of the tunes that were "rejected" by other band members, friends and record executives. At first blush, that's not exactly the best collection of songs to gather together and release on one CD, now is it?

Once you spin "Bastards," however, you come to realize that some of these songs deserve to be recorded. Starting with the first track, "Hard Core," a fiery little ditty written about and for the legendary Lemmy of Motorhead (a tune Motorhead performed on the soundtrack to the film "Fresno Smooth"), this CD contains some pretty good stuff. Snider says that he always writes way too many songs for each album. Apparently, when you "overwrite" each album, a lot of good stuff gets left on the rehearsal room floor.

Other tunes worth mentioning include "Call My Name," a desperate cry for fame, "Our Voice Will Be Heard," a "We're Not Gonna Take It"-like anthem, an admittedly Aerosmith-y number called "Sometimes You Win" and a heartfelt ode to Snider's wife, Suzette, entitled "Rider Through the Storm."

There are a few less-than-stellar efforts here as well. A cover of the 50s classic, "The Wanderer" is one of them (didn't you learn anything from the "Leader of the Pack" debacle, Dee?) and "Uh Huh Huh," Snider's attempt to write a Led Zeppelin rip-off (which he freely admits) and comes off too much like Elvis (also admitted in the liner notes).

Twisted Sister and Dee Snider fans don't have to think twice - this record should be in your collection.

Appearing on "Never Let the Bastards Wear You Down" are: Dee Snider - vocals; Tony Palmucci - guitars; Derek Tailer - bass; A.J. Pero - drums; Dan McCafferty - guitars.

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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 2017 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 21 Feb 2021 15:29:25 -0500.