The Last Vegas – Bad Decisions

The Last Vegas - Bad Decisions

Released on August 28, 2012 (FrostByte Media)

Track List:
01. Beat To Hell
02. Other Side
03. Bad Decisions
04. Evil Eyes
05. Don’t Take It So Hard
06. She’s My Confusion
07. It Ain’t Easy
08. My Way Forever
09. Leonida
10. Devil In You
11. You Are The One
12. Good Night
iTunes Bonus Track:
13. Waste Your Time

Band Members:
Chad Cherry – vocals
Adam Arling – guitar
Johnny Wator – guitar
Danny Smash – bass
Nate Arling – drums

Additional Musicians:
Ashley Wolf – vocals (5)
John San Juan – synthesizers and keyboards (1,6)

Produced and mixed by Johnny K.
Engineered and tracked by Tony McQuaid and Adam Arling.
Mastered by Maor Applebaum.

Chicago’s glam quintet The Last Vegas have the infamous distinction of winning a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that saw them out-play 8,000 other contestants for the coveted prize of a management deal from 10th Street Entertainment, a recording deal from Eleven Seven Music, and a slot on Motley Crue‘s 2009 ‘Saints Of Los Angeles Tour’ ’09, at ‘Guitar Center’s On-Stage: Your Chance to Make Rock History 2008’ contest. Their appetite for success was fed. It was only a matter of time before Nikki Sixx would poach them in L.A. and subsequently co-produce their third album Whatever Gets You Off, which lead to live stints with the likes of AC/DC and Guns N’ Roses, as well as headlining in over 17 countries worldwide. It’s safe to assume The Last Vegas are on a mission to reach the very top.

Bad Decisions is their latest attempt to scale the dizzying highs of Whatever Gets You Off, and from the first play what is so immediately obvious about this new album is that it is a far more raucous beast than 2009’s sleazy representation. Producer Johnny K, who is best known for his work with Megadeth, Disturbed and Airbourne, has channeled much of his raw influence into this record. Demonstrating the stamp he has placed firmly over it, the ballsy cut n’ thrust entrance of opener “Beat To Hell” features drum roll and feed-back, before raising hell and screaming for vengeance through an infectious gang vocal chorus that keeps a driving rhythm section pounding with force.

It’s clear the band has made no “Bad Decisions” where their rock-steady title track is concerned, with catchy AC/DC motifs and a larynx so undeniably built for rock n’ roll, frontman Chad Cherry salutes Brian Johnson through his raw, gravelling vocal abilities. Of the less-ubiquitous numbers, influences are made clear as axes — Adam Arling and Johnny Wator unite for Guns N’ Roses pastiche during “Don’t Take It So Hard”, a track that bears the brunt of a slightly forced and languid “Sweet Child O’ Mine” impact. Meanwhile, “It Ain’t Easy” darts down the southern rock route blending sleazy hip-shaking grooves with bluesy-rock riffs, giving off a whole new Smokey-lounge twist to their usual glam n’ roll forte.

On the preceding ballsy and sassy single “Evil Eyes”, Cherry sings of sex, drugs and rock n’ roll — one of few glam moments that peels back the hard stuff, revealing sleazy ideals of its predecessor. But it soon becomes apparent as to why The Last Vegas made it all the way to the end of the Gibson finals. Cranking amps up to 11 at rib-shaking volume and air guitars at the ready, “Leonida” isn’t short on solos, just straight-up, non-stop, in your face rock n’ roll. “Devil In You” contains all the necessary elements of a straight-up rock n’ roll meets garage/punk rock sound, while achingly vulnerable closer “Good Night” is a fitting melodic aftermath to this raging 12-track storm.

Harder, heavier, grittier, and louder, Bad Decision is an album operating at high speed without delving too deeply into glam, containing just the right amount of sleaze to please. It is, as Chad Cherry puts it, “a little rawer, a little groovier and more Last Vegas than the previous album… just five guys rocking”. Take the ’70s classic rock leanings of AC/DC, mix with the ’80s rock star attitude of Guns N’ Roses, shake hard… best served LOUD!

Reviewed by Gemma-Louise Johnson for Sleaze Roxx, October 2012

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