To be released on November 13, 2020 (Compulsions Records)
I guess any reviewer catching an assignment to give an ear to an album called Ferocious by a band they’d hardly ever heard of would right off the bat think “Well, here’s a band with a grande nutsack” but after a bit of investigation, it’s obvious that these New York rockers ain’t just any old unknown band. Heck, in theory, I guess you could say along the way it’s become more of a solo rock n’ roll lovechild for guitarist / vocalist Rob Carlyle and if that doesn’t even ring a bell it’s cool. With a slew of EPs and albums that include musical alum featuring members of Guns N’ Roses, the New York Dolls, Hanoi Rocks, Raging Slab, and David Bowie, Carlyle and his band The Compulsions have the rock n’ roll right to have big balls.
Set to be unleashed on the world on Friday the 13th in November, The Compulsions‘ latest slab of stagger and swagger rawk, Ferocious, comes loaded with a pre-order double barrel of early bullets by the way of covers of the Rolling Stones‘ “Dead Flowers” and Guns N’ Roses‘ tune “Dust N’ Bones.” According to reports, this ain’t just by mistake. Carlyle‘s initial vision for The Compulsions was to land somewhere between the Stones and Guns N’ Roses, and this time around, he’s not interested in just hinting about it and man, it works. Fans of bands influenced by both former Guns guitarists Izzy Stradlin and Gilby Clarke will flat out love the no holds barred, non-filtered rock and roll on Ferocious, which should not only garner Carlyle and company some additional word of mouth sales, but a grab at the band’s back catalog as well. OK, so the covers are cool but it’s not the pre-order freebies that make this record go. It’s the ones you got to wait for that truly get the rock juices flowing.
As if shooting an immediate ode to those ex-Gunners, Ferocious kicks off with the strummy, raw, organ drenched slide guitar goodness of “Born On A Landfill” that is nearly as cool as Pawnshop Guitars era Gilby and just as Stonesy rock and roll as most Izzy stuff. This catchy blues of a groove style shows up a few delicious times here including the cool barroom boogie of “Killer In The Woodshed,” the Izzy–esque “Man With No Name,” and the wonderfully fun title track, a tune begging for a cold dollar beer special and fresh pack of smokes. But as much as the smooth tracks make the most of Ferocious‘ rawk vibe, there’s a whole mess of loud ones too, just so happens that they stretch the bounds a bit.
“Band of Thieves” starts off in a spooky sort of way that borders on Marilyn Manson electronic rock but in a cooler, yet just as repetitive vibe. It’s just rock enough to still be cool but a bit odd following “Born On A Landfill.” Luckily, if that’s not your kind of thing, “Addicted” lands in at track three with a solid bit of raw head bobbing pounding rock and roll that feels more along the lines of where the party should be going and man, The Compulsions‘ ripping version of “Dead Flowers” is as right on as it gets. It might be sacreligious to say, but Carlyle and crew drop a rendition that makes Gilby‘s version featuring Axl and Izzy seem lame in comparison. Then again, Axl‘s backup always grated on my nerves so… but anyway, yeah, great rock and roll, guitar solo, ripping man. If you can let the simple lyrics be, “Dirtbag Blues” is a fun romp, “Funk #666” is a pretty cool rocker with a great guitar solo and if there’s has to be a toss off tune on Ferocious, it’s The Compulsions’ take on “Dust N’ Bones.” Compared to the rest of the record, it’s just nowhere near as cool unless I guess your Guns N’ Roses‘ fanatacism is of the upmost high – you’ll either love it or curse it.
Overall, The Compulsions‘ newest album is a much-needed full-length rock and roll record delivered at a time when the world is in dire need of such things. Yeah, the pedigree of the musicians is through the roof but instead of trying to make comparisons to past work, Ferocious is perfectly capable of standing on its own as just a really good rock record. Once again, Rob Carlyle has put together a solid disc of tunes that in a perfect world would be ideal for rock radio but hey, how many of us said the same about Gilby and Izzy‘s solo stuff? Sadly, the world is criminally clueless so we can only hope to band together and give this one not only our double devil horns support, but our CD and download dollars as well and maybe, just maybe we can help this one blow up and that my rock pals would be truly ferocious.
01. Born On A Landfill
02. Band of Thieves
04. Dead Flowers
05. Dirtbag Blues
06. Funk #666
07. Killer In The Woodshed
08. Dust N’ Bones
10. Man With No Name
Rob Carlyle – vocals, guitar
Bumblefoot – guitar
Earl Slick – guitar
Hugh Pool – guitar, harmonica, backing vocals
Alec Morton – bass
Brian Delaney – drums
Frank Ferrer – drums
Andrew Sherman – keyboards
Nicki Richards – backing vocals
Ken Rich – bass
Craig Dreyer – saxophone
Ethan Eubanks – drums
Peter Adams – keyboards
Chris Eminizer – saxophone
Jake Lummus – backing vocals
Produced by Ken Rich
Executive producer: Rob Carlyle
Engineered by Jake Lummus
Mastering by Fred Kevorkian
Reviewed by John Stoney Cannon for Sleaze Roxx, October 2020
The Compulsions‘ “Dirtbag Blues” album teaser:
The Compulsions‘ “Dead Flowers” album teaser: