Released on April 5, 2019 (Perris Records)
Figuring out which album should take the #10 spot on the Sleaze Roxx’s Top Ten Albums of 2018 was a tough decision. Although Ghost‘s Prequelle ended up taking the $10 position, there were two other albums that could have easily been there. One of them is Hardcore Superstar‘s You Can’t Kill My Rock ‘N’ Roll, which ended up being voted as #1 on the Sleaze Roxx Readers’ Top 20 Albums of 2018. The other is the lesser known debut self-titled EP from 99 Crimes who are fronted by current Dangerous Toys and former Dirty Looks guitarist Paul Lidel. While either of those albums could have taken the tenth spot, I ended up going with Ghost‘s Prequelle because I found that record to have a couple of really amazing tracks (“Pro Memoria” and “Witch Image”) while the other two albums from Hardcore Superstar and 99 Crimes were more consistent throughout but each didn’t have that one track that I was completely enthralled with.
After releasing a five-song self-titled EP, 99 Crimes are back with their self-titled debut album (I know, a little confusing with the EP and full-length album having the same name) that contains eleven songs including the five from the debut EP. 99 Crimes offer more of the same on their debut full-length album when it’s compared to their debut EP. That is, you are getting some quality, old school, no frills rock n’ roll with a singer that has voice with a real retro ’70s feel to it. In other words, there is not one bad track on 99 Crimes‘ debut full-length album as the new songs that weren’t featured on the EP fit right in with the five others while providing a few differences as well. I have always been a sucker for a high pitched voice (some of my favourite lead vocalists are Helloween‘s Michael Kiske and Triumph‘s Rik Emmett) and Paul Lidel‘s singing is in that vain. I really can’t get enough of his lead vocals and love the ’70s retro vibe that I feel whenever I hear him singing.
New track “Devil In Your Dreams” kicks off 99 Crimes‘ debut full-length album and is really a showcase for what the band has to offer. Lidel‘s high pitched vocals? Check. Some great background vocals from bassist Jeff Lynn? Check. Some simple yet effective guitar riffs? Check. A thundering and tight rhythm section from Lynn and drummer Chris Jordan? Check. Lots of melody in the song while sounding pretty heavy? Check. “Devil In Your Dreams” is a fun song that has some swagger with Lidel‘s vocals during the verses. “Rumor” is next and although I find the track a little slower paced than I would have liked, I have to admit that it’s super easy to sing along to and probably the one track that pops into my mind right away due to its easy to sing along chorus. “Comin’ Down Like Rain” follows. It was the best track on the EP and continues to be the best one on the band’s debut full-length album. “Fool” is similar to “Rumor” in that it has an easy chorus to sing along to but it is faster paced, which I like. I understand from my recent interview with Lidel that “Move Like That” was written at the last minute and included on this album, and thank God for that, as it is a great slow building track with an again, easy to sing along to chorus.
“Crystal Ball” and “Blood From A Stone” are my two least favourite songs out of the six new ones on 99 Crimes‘ debut full-length album but it doesn’t mean that they are bad tracks. In fact, I enjoy them both but simply find there is more to be offered with the four other aforementioned tracks. I have already gone over the songs with my review of the debut EP so I won’t bother going over them in too much detail aside from saying that “Do It Over” and “Nine Pound Hammer” (called “9 Pound Hammer” on the EP) are each built on a guitar riff that comes back over and over again, which sometimes is pretty much the only ingredient that you need to have a great song. I also really love bassist Jeff Lynn‘s lead vocals on the song “Avenue” which really reminds me of Rik Emmett‘s singing in Triumph.
Although many people usually equate the name Paul Lidel with “guitarist”, there is no question that he can handle lead vocals and his guitar playing in 99 Crimes is very good too. His guitar playing is not spectacular and over the top like an Yngwie Malmsteen but solid, tasteful and riff based like an Angus Young. 99 Crimes‘ debut EP just missed making the cut on the Sleaze Roxx’s Top Ten Albums of 2018 but with the six new songs on their debut full-length album, 99 Crimes are currently well poised to finish inside the top ten. It’s still early in the year at this time but this is one album that I can put on at anytime and that I know that I’ll enjoy it from start to finish. You can pick up 99 Crimes‘ debut self-titled full-length album directly from Perris Records.
01. Devil In Your Dreams
03. Comin’ Down Like Rain
05. Move Like That
06. Crystal Ball
08. Blood From A Stone
09. Do It Over
10. Nine Pound Hammer
11. Never Say Forever
Paul Lidel – lead vocals (1 to 6, 8 to 11), guitar
Jeff Lynn – bass, lead vocals (7), background vocals
Chris Jordan – drums
Produced by Omar Vallejo and Paul Lidel
Reviewed by Olivier for Sleaze Roxx, April 2019
99 Crimes‘ “Comin’ Down Like Rain” video:
Austin original hard rock band, 99 Crimes, performing “Coming Down like Rain.” Filmed and produced by Steve Miller @ AustinVideoSpecialist.com Filmed at the “1885 Gonzales County Jail” Special thanks to Sandra Wolf for use of the jail. Contact Sandra Wolff for jail dates and ticket information: 830-263-4663 or [email protected]
99 Crimes‘ “Rumor” lyric video:
99 Crimes “Rumor” lyric video. From the self titled debut album available on Perris Records. ( PerrisRecords.com ) Video edited by Josh Smith. For more info visit 99crimes.com and facebook.com/99crimes