L.A. Guns: ‘The Devil You Know’

Released on March 29, 2019 (Frontiers Music Srl)

L.A. Guns seem to have transformed themselves into “Metal Guns” with their latest studio album The Devil You Know. Well, that seems to be the case at least with the two songs that got the video treatment for this new record, namely “Rage” and the title track. After releasing the critically acclaimed and well received album The Missing Peace (which finished at #1 on the Sleaze Roxx Readers’ Top Albums of 2017), guitarist Tracii Guns and lead vocalist Phil Lewis apparently decided to get a tad heavier with their sound for their next record. I know that I’m likely in the minority here but I wasn’t totally enamoured with The Missing Peace. Although it was a good album and certainly a return to form, I also found it to be a bit of an inconsistent album with some real highs (“Speed”), two ballads (“Christine” and “The Flood’s The Fault of The Rain”) that seemed to be not one but two attempts at “The Ballad of Jayne” 2.0, and some average stuff at times.

The Devil You Know is a different beast. I’ve always liked my music a little heavier than what the Warrants and Poisons of the world might offer so I actually like The Devil You Know better than The Missing Peace. For one, The Devil You Know has a nice flow throughout the entire record while The Missing Peace sometimes felt like bits and pieces were thrown together with one song not necessarily flowing that nicely into another. Probably the sad part about The Devil You Know is that the best songs on the album appear to be getting ignored in terms of the record’s promotion. I have been listening to The Devil You Know for some time now and the songs that always stick out as the best ones are “Needle To The Bone”, “Gone Honey” and surprisingly the slower “Down That Hole.” “Rage” is a good song but seems to be a bit of a departure for the band or perhaps closer to “Killing Machine” (which I never really liked) from the Vicious Circle album. The title track “The Devil You Know” is sadly one of the worst songs on the new record. It’s not a bad song but it lacks melody and plods along at times. It’s like hearing Black Sabbath or Heaven And Hell with Lewis‘ voice. The song offers some cool guitar riffs but at a plodding pace.

The good news is that there are many way better songs on The Devil You Know! “Needle To The Bone” is a fantastic tune. Gone are the heavy metal riffs and back in are the melodies, some fun background vocals and that L.A. Guns swagger. “Gone Honey” also ditches the heavy metal riffs and has that classic L.A. Guns feel with some good melodies. “Don’t Need To Win” is another good track where Lewis sounds like well, vintage era Lewis. Whatever you might think of Lewis with his constant smear campaign towards his former L.A. Guns bandmates Steve Riley and Kelly Nickels (and lately criticizing many fans who support them), there is no doubt that he sounds great on The Devil You Know album. It’s nice to see a lead vocalist who has been able to keep his vocal pipes in great shape after 30 plus years of recording and touring. I could see why certain people might not be into the song “Down That Hole” which plods along at the beginning but I really like it as it’s got a good groove and a cool solo from Tracii Guns.

Overall, I am digging The Devil You Know although I think that L.A. Guns should try to stay away from the slower Black Sabbath type plodding numbers. Is it the best L.A. Guns record that I have ever heard? No. Is it a good album that I will listen to later on this year? Yes. I do hope that The Devil You Know does not get overshadowed by Lewisconstant jabs towards his former bandmates (including guitarist Michael Grant) and various fans that have supported the band over the years. For those who are old enough, you can likely remember how Quiet Riot fell from glory with the release of Condition Critical (which was a good album and the follow up to the multi-platinum seller Metal Health) due in large part to singer Kevin DuBrow‘s verbal swipes at his musical contemporaries which eventually pissed off a lot of fans. It would be a shame if Guns and Lewis‘ version of L.A. Guns suffered the same fate and their album The Devil You Know didn’t get its fair due.

Track List:
01. Rage
02. Stay Away
03. Loaded Bomb
04. The Devil You Know
05. Needle To The Bone
06. Going High
07. Gone Honey
08. Don’t Need To Win
09. Down That Hole
10. Another Season In Hell
Bonus Track (CD and Digital only)
11. Boom

Band Members:
Tracii Guns – guitar
Phil Lewis – lead vocals
Johnny Martin – bass, background vocals
Shane Fitzgibbon – drums, background vocals

Additional Musicians:
Mitch Davis – background vocals

Produced by Tracii Guns
Vocal production by Mitch Davis
Additional production and engineered by Shane Fitzgibbon
Additional engineering by Zach Fisher
Mixed and mastered by Greg Wurth

Band Websites:
Official Website

Reviewed by Olivier for Sleaze Roxx, April 2019

L.A. Guns‘ “Rage” video:

L.A. Guns – “Rage” (Official) #RockAintDead

Subscribe here for more videos – http://radi.al/SubscribeFrontiers | From the album THE DEVIL YOU KNOW. Get your copy NOW: http://radi.al/TheDevilYouKnow | …

L.A. Guns‘ “The Devil You Know” video:

L.A. GUNS – “The Devil You Know” (Official Music Video) #RockAintDead

Subscribe here for more videos – http://radi.al/SubscribeFrontiers | From the album THE DEVIL YOU KNOW. Get your copy NOW: http://radi.al/TheDevilYouKnow | …

L.A. Guns‘ “Stay Away” song:

L.A. Guns – “Stay Away” (Official Audio) #RockAintDead

Subscribe here for more videos – http://radi.al/SubscribeFrontiers | From the album THE DEVIL YOU KNOW. Get your copy NOW: http://radi.al/TheDevilYouKnow | …