"The Gang's All Here" (Earmusic; 2022)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

If you’re like me, you’ve listened to Skid Row here and there throughout the years and the band’s rotating member circus made everything a blur. Hopefully, that blur will come to an end with the excellent "The Gang’s All Here."

The first album with latest vocalist Erik Gronwall on vocals, "The Gang’s All Here" is a return to form for the band. The album is full of gritty hard-rockers with crunchy guitars, pounding rhythms and singable, fist-raising choruses.

With a title track as empowering as this one, "The Gang’s All Here" rocks with might on every track. My favorites are the title track, the rollicking opener, "Hell or Highwater" and the bouncing bass and bluesy guitars of "When the Lights Come On." But there’s not a bad track on the album.

Closing fittingly with the driving "World on Fire," "The Gang’s All Here" seems proof that Skid Row still has some gas left in the tank—and a big engine to keep them driving forward.

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"Rise of the Damnation Army - United World Rebellion Chapter 2" EP (Megaforce Records; 2014)

Reviewed by Jeff Rogers

This is the second chapter in the Skid's trilogy. The first was a teaser and, after streaming these two back-to-back, I'm thinking these guys are coming in strong with a vengeance. The third chapter will be with their new lead singer, Tony Harnell, who fronted TNT. That dude has got some pipes!

This EP is twenty eight minutes long; the first was only eighteen and I must say the second rocks a bit more. Plus, there are two covers on "Rise Of The Damnation Army - United World Rebellion Chapter 2" that fit along quite nicely: Queen's "Sheer Heart Attack" and Ratt's "Rats In the Cellar." Skid Row do slow it down a bit with "Catch Your Fall." It's not a ballad but you could call it a pillow between the bricks compared to the other tracks on this second EP.

Skid Row: Johnny Solinger - vocals; Rachel Bolan - bass guitar, vocals; Dave "The Snake" Sabo - rhythm and lead guitar, vocals; Scotti Hill - lead and rhythm guitar; Rob Hammersmith - drums and percussion.

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"United World Rebellion Chapter One" EP (Megaforce Records; 2013)

Reviewed by Jeff Rogers

This EP, the Skid's first since 1992, ("B-Side Ourselves") is part of a trilogy. There will be three EPs released with the second entitled, "Rise Of The Damnation Army - United World Rebellion: Chapter Two" and then the third, "United World Rebellion: Chapter Three," will complete the series and introduce their new lead singer Tony Harnell who used to sing for TNT. Bach ain't back, Solinger is out, enter some TNT!

I haven't listened to Skid Row in a long time. Johnny Solinger took over for Sebastian Bach and I lost touch, which I shouldn't have done, you can read a few of my reviews where I state if the lead singer leaves and get replaced, as long as the music still rocks, I'd stick with 'em. I'm confessing I didn't do that here. Johnny Solinger has the pipes to power Skid Row or Dave, Rachel and Scotti wouldn't have hired him. I did hear some of "Thickskin" but I couldn't tell you anything about the sound (mind you this was twelve years ago).

The sound on this EP is tight, the band sounds like they are back to their old selves, they don't try to hold anything back and, even though this EP was written with Solinger still in the band, the Skids still rock it like they always did. This EP is only eighteen minutes and that's just enough of a taste to let you know what's coming next.

Skid Row: Johnny Solinger - vocals; Rachel Bolan - bass guitar, vocals; Dave "The Snake" Sabo - rhythm and lead guitar, vocals; Scotti Hill - lead and rhythm guitar; Rob Hammersmith - drums and percussion.

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"Thickskin" (Skid Row Records / Worldsound; 2003)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

Sometimes, all it takes to invigorate a band is to inject a new member or two. Without actually sitting there in the studio with Skid Row and their new vocalist Johnny Solinger, I would guess that that's exactly what happened with Skid Row and their new CD, "Thickskin."

It didn't just start with the new CD, however. I caught Skid Row on the Skid Row / Vince Neil / Poison tour recently and Skid Row, in the opening slot, blew me away (click here to see my review of that show). Not only did the band seem invigorated, playing their music with a renewed passion and charisma, but new vocalist Johnny Solinger was like a fury - running around the entire stage and whipping the crowd into action. And he sounded awesome. When they played a couple of songs from the as-yet unreleased new CD, the audience ate them up.

So I was anxiously awaiting "Thickskin" and I am happy to report that, despite my high expectations, the CD delivers. Skid Row contains 12 tracks of pure rock'n'roll power, ranging from hard rockers like "Born a Beggar" to outright heavy metal anthems like "Thick Is the Skin." All of the songwriting (mostly by Rachel Bolan and guitarist Snake) is fresh and strong and the production is top notch.

The CD slows down a little for the token "ballad," "See You Around," but even that song stands out as a finer example of that type of song.

And those of you who refuse to like Solinger simply because he replaced Sebastian Bach - give the guy a break. First and foremost, Solinger is damned good. Secondly, he idolizes Bach, calling the original Skid Row singer a real "rock star" and referring to himself only as the new singer for the band. 

Here's to hoping that Johnny Solinger and Skid Row stick together for a long time and that they keep pumping out albums as good as "Thickskin."

Skid Row: Johnny Solinger - lead vocals; Rachel Bolan - bass, backing vocals; Phil Varone - drums, backing vocals; Scotti Hill - guitar, backing vocals; Snake - guitar, backing vocals. Also performing are Lamar "Kapt Kronic" Mitchell and Steven Haigler.

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"40 Seasons - The Best of Skid Row" (Warner; 1998)

Reviewed by Kate Smith

If you are a die-hard Slid Row fan then you will love this album. "40 Seasons" includes some of the band's most memorable hits like "Youth Gone Wild," "18 and Life," "I Remember You," and "Monkey Business." Plus they've pulled out some unreleased demos, "Forever" (1989, partially written during a soundcheck and partially written in a hotel room in Brazil) and "Fire in the Hole" (1991, written for "Slave to the Grind" but which didn't make the cut). These tracks are probably some of their heaviest stuff at the time. Also included are remixes of "My Enemy" and "Breakin' Down," some more heavy stuff coming from the "Subhuman Race" album. 

Listening to these songs you can hear the transition the band went through from their self-titled debut to their later CDs. Skid Row mixed glam and hard rock together and brought it to a whole other level. Sebastian Bach's amazing vocal talent has made him one of the best voices in rock'n'roll. It's a shame they've gone their separate ways, but we can still appreciate the music with this terrific compilation!

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"Slave to the Grind" (Atlantic; 1991)

Reviewed by Jeff Rogers

Here's a little trivia for you: Who was the original guitar player for Bon Jovi? Read the review below to find the answer.

I remember when "Slave to the Grind" was released. I ran out to buy it because I loved "18 and Life" and "I Remember You." I thought I was getting the same thing again ... boy, was I wrong. The moment I heard Baz screaming "Can't close the closet on a shoebox full of bones!" I about flipped out! This was way harder that their self-titled disc. With incredible lyrics and Sebastian's untouchable range, this CD is a tattoo on the arm of heavy metal. Dave "The Snake" Sabo and Scotti Hill lay down some of the baddest riffs, licks, chops, and solos that can only be measured on the Richter scale. Basically, everything that a heavy metal CD needs to be appreciated is here.

Rachel Bolan and Dave Sabo handle almost all the songwriting abilities and they can write some great lyrics. Featuring 12 face-stomping tracks and 49 minutes of music, this CD was nothing short of brutal when it was originally released and it was the first heavy metal CD to debut at #1 on the Billboard charts.

Skid Row really put the hammer down on "Slave to the Grind." It's harder and heavier than their other stuff and it just smokes from the get go. You can sing along with Baz but don't use this CD as a vocal exerciser - you'll tear up your throat. 

By the way, the answer to the trivia question above: It was Dave "The Snake" Sabo who was the first guitar player in Bon Jovi. Useless information, I know, but now maybe you know something you didn't.

The best songs here are "Monkey Business," "Slave To The Grind," "Living On A Chaingang," and "Creepshow."

Skid Row: Sebastian Bach - vocals; Dave "The Snake" Sabo - guitars; Scotti Hill - guitars; Rachel Bolan - bass; Rob Affuso - drums.

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"Subhuman Race" (Atlantic; 1995)

Reviewed by Jeff Rogers

"Subhuman Race" was the last Skid Row CD with Sebastian Bach at the vocal helm. Moving away from the heavy metal pop sound that started their careers, Skid Row stripped down the guitars and allowed Sebastian Bach to growl his attitude to match their new sound. If you thought “Slave To The Grind” was heavy, add another 500 pounds of metal and you've got the weight of this one. 

Although this release didn’t garner as many hits as their debut and didn’t chart as well as “Slave To The Grind,” it still romps right from the gates. Skid Row was smart to release this disc after the grunge train rolled through. Since they had so much success with their first two albums a new blast from them was welcomed because their fan base had already been rooted and were looking for something like this.

One thing that gave Skid Row staying power was their vocals and guitar solos. I’m glad to say that nothing changed here: Bach has the best pipes in metal. Scott Hill and Snake still rip out some of the most ferocious guitar solos ever. There is also a punk vibe that this disc offers up on songs like “Bonehead.” Sometimes Bach sounds like Robert Plant and sometimes a little Led Zeppelin influence is hinted at.

“Eileen” is about the cleanest Bach gets with his vocals. Almost soulful at times, it’s a remembrance of how melodic he can sing. “Medicine Jar” sounds like a lost cut from “Slave To The Grind” and “Breakin’ Down” starts out almost contemporary sounding. I had to check the track to see if they accidentally messed up. Thankfully it eventually picks up the pace.

The best bids here are “Firesign,” “Eileen,” “Medicine Jar,” and “Ironwill.”

Skid Row: Rob Affuso – drums; Sebastian Bach – lead and backing vocals; Rachel Bolan – bass; Scott Hill – guitars and backing vocals; Snake – guitars.

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"Skid Row" (Atlantic; 1989)

Reviewed by Snidermann

Of course, everyone has heard of Skid Row and everyone who reads this website has heard at least some of the band's music, probably a lot more. However, I never really sat down and listened to an entire release from beginning to end. So I went out and bought the band's self-titled debut. 

I was not prepared for what I heard. "Skid Row" fucking rocks. Pop metal, hair band music whatever you want to call it, Skid Row's eponymous CD is the best of the genre that I have heard. Each song is a finely crafted musical package, complete with talented musicianship, great songwriting and high energy levels throughout.

Don't get me wrong: this kind of music has its place and too much of it can and will cause brain damage. However, let's give props where props are due. In 1989, Skid Row released a totally awesome record that spoke to their fans and inspired dozens of bands that followed in their footsteps. No matter what you think of 80s metal, you've got to give them that. 

After listening to this release in its entirety, I can see why Skid Row became the huge band they became. This CD has all the elements, with classic songs like "Sweet Little Sister," "Can't Stand the Heartache" and the power ballad "I Remember You" leading the way.

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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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