Released on February 7, 2019 (Denman)
Raw deal! A raw deal is Denman apparently not being able to land a suitable record deal with their debut full-length album Raw Deal, which is actually the real deal! If you love ’80s era heavy metal with blistering guitar solos, some great melodies and at times some almost thrash metal like tendencies, you are going to love Denman. In fact, Denman are so skilled that they can play from the super melodic songs (check out “Another Day”) to the heavy bang your head thrashers (such as “Down Comes The Wall”) and everything in between. Just like on their debut EP The Life We Live, Denman show their versatility without “wimping out” by keeping their trademark killer guitar solos throughout every song. Denman‘s EP The Life We Live actually was close to making it into the Sleaze Roxx’s Top Ten Albums of 2017 but fell short because I found the song “Miles Away From Home” (which actually featured Mark Slaughter) a little too poppy for my taste even though I couldn’t help but sing along to it every time I listened to it.
I can’t say enough about Denman‘s tandem guitar attack of brothers Ben and Dakota Denman. Both can shred with the best and are very adept at coming up with some memorable guitar solos in the Kirk Hammett meets George Lynch vain. Even though both can come up with some killer guitar solos, they don’t overplay on the songs but rather come up with some exceptional guitar solos with lots of melody at the appropriate times. Ben Denman also handles the lead vocal duties and reminds me of Metallica‘s James Hetfield except with a much higher pitch. No one will likely say that Ben Denman is one of the greatest vocalists out there but he gets the job done and sounds great in the process. The rhythm section of drummer Ted Karol and bassist Robbie Crede is solid and really lets the Dakota brothers shine. It also helps to have producer extraordinaire Michael Wagener behind the controls.
I like every song on Raw Deal except the cover of Steppenwolf‘s “Born To Be Wild.” Actually, Denman do a good job of covering the rock n’ roll classic but I am so sick of hearing that song. I mean, Twisted Sister were covering “Born To Be Wild” during their club days in the late ’70s / early ’80s. I believe that three fourths of the Denman band are also in a Metallica tribute band called Fade To Blackened. It would have been so much better to have Denman cover a Metallica song (check out the group’s killer rendition of “Battery” at Rocklanta just a little over a month ago). In fact, Denman sound an awful lot like early Kill ‘Em All era Metallica on their track “Down Comes The Wall.”
Overall, I really like Denman‘s Raw Deal although I would be hard pressed to hum one of their songs from that record (aside from perhaps “Another Day”) if a gun was put to my head. It’s one of those albums that is always enjoyable to listen but I can’t really say there is one song that really stands out over the others. My one pet peeve with Denman, which has nothing to do with the quality of their songs, is that I ordered both of their CDs via their website but the glass CD case was broken each time by the time it made its way to Canada. Aside from my damaged CD case and what I mentioned above, I can find no fault with Raw Deal as it is a very enjoyable record from start to finish. I really hope that Denman release a video for their very melodic and catchy “Another Day” as I could see that song getting some coveted airplay.
02. Alive In Overdrive (feat. Chuck Garric)
03. Another Day
04. Call Of The Wild
05. Nighttime Jungle
06. Dreams Stay Alive
07. Down Comes The Wall
09. Born To Be Wild
10. Pedal To The Metal
11. Prison City
Ben Denman – lead vocals, lead and rhythm guitars
Dakota Denman – lead and rhythm guitars, backing vocals
Ted Karol – drums, percussion
Robbie Crede – bass, backing vocals
Chuck Garric (2)
Produced, mixed and mastered by Michael Wagener
Reviewed by Olivier for Sleaze Roxx, May 2019
Denman‘s “Gunslinger” video:
Music video for ‘Gunslinger’ performed by Denman.Produced, Mixed, and Mastered by Michael Wagener.
Denman‘s “Higher” lyric video:
The first single off of the new Denman album ‘Raw Deal’. Produced by Michael Wagener for Double Trouble Productions. This song is available for Pre-Order on …