Released on October 22, 1991 (Relativity)
While losing a critical band member, especially when it’s the lead singer, is typically a death knell for most bands, the loss actually worked out for Shotgun Messiah. With original singer Zinny J. Zan departing after the band’s self-titled debut (and its minor hit “Shout It Out”), remaining members Tim Skold, Harry Cody and Stixx Galore carried on, with bassist Skold taking over vocal duties and bassist Bobby Lycon coming on board to handle the low end. The result was 1991’s Second Coming, one of the best rock records of the late glam era.
Propelled by the hit single “Heartbreak Blvd”, strong songs throughout and top-flight production values — it’s a great sounding record — Second Coming delivers an all-killer, no-filler listening experience. Up tempo rocker “Sex Drugs Rock ‘n’ Roll” opens the record, and while Skold’s vocals take some getting used to, the track works thanks to an abundance of hooks, attitude and musicianship. It’s clear within ten seconds these guys mean business. The pulsating “Red Hot” follows, bringing Galore’s drums and Lycon’s bass to the forefront, providing breathing room for Cody’s slashing guitar. The production team of Skold, Cody and Pat Regan shine here. It’s a standout track. Second Coming never lets up from there.
“Nobody’s Home” turns the lyrical lens on the band themselves and pokes fun at low IQ/high RPM rock (and delivers exactly that), while the obligatory ballad “Living Without You” spins the love song narrative on its head — “If there’s a tear in my eye / It’s not for you / Don’t flatter yourself.” Brilliant. All of this sets the stage for “Heartbreak Blvd”, the hard-hitting, instantly catchy lead single and arguably the song the band is best known for. From Cody’s opening guitar pick slides to the radio ready chorus, it’s a monster from beginning to end. I can imagine the label hearing it for the first time and saying “that’s the one.” “Heartbreak Blvd” is a hard song to follow and yet the band manage it as “I Want More” brings an early industrial tinge to a mid-tempo, arena worthy rocker. Later, their cover of the New York Dolls‘ “Babylon” retains the raucous spirit of the original. Down the stretch is where Second Coming sets itself apart from other efforts of the era. Over ten songs in, the band is still firing haymakers. “You & Me” is a biting look at toxic relationships, while album closer “Can’t Fool Me” snarls its way to the finish line.
Second Coming is a triumph, even more so considering the major shakeups that preceded it, and it’s ultimately a credit to Skold, Cody and co-producer Pat Regan that they were able to successfully preside over the renaissance of Shotgun Messiah 2.0. I highly recommend it.
Verdict: A retooled Shotgun Messiah deliver one of the strongest albums of the late sleaze rock era.
01. Sex Drugs Rock ‘n’ Roll
02. Red Hot
03. Nobody’s Home
04. Living Without You
05. Heartbreak Blvd
06. I Want More
08. Ride The Storm
09. I Wanna Know
12. You & Me
13. Can’t Fool Me
Tim Skold – vocals
Harry Cody – guitars
Bobby Lycon – bass
Stixx Galore – drums
Pat Regan – “silly drums” (9)
Produced by Tim Skold, Harry Cody and Pat Regan
Reviewed by Dan Hamilton for Sleaze Roxx, October 2021
Shotgun Messiah‘s “Heartbreak Blvd” video:
Shotgun Messiah‘s “Living Without You” video: