Thursday, November 30, 2017

Album Review: Eisley/Goldy - Blood, Guts, and Games

Here's one of those controversial opinions I sometimes hold; Craig Goldy is my favorite Dio guitarist. I know that Vivian Campbell was on the classic albums, and a lot of people have a soft spot in their heart for Doug Aldrich for some reason, but Goldy is the one I listen to the most. "Dream Evil" is what I consider the best top-to-bottom Dio album, and I consider "Master Of The Moon" to be the most underrated of them all. Goldy is no genius, though, as his recent attempt to reclaim that legacy was just as bad as Campbell's. But I did get a bit intrigued to see his name attached to this new project, which sees him team up with fellow Giuffra alum Glen Eisley, even though I have no particular relationship to that band.

What we get through this project is a throwback to the big rock of the 80s, which these guys were there to take part in the first time. Not long after hitting the play button, this much is clear, as the sound is pure 80s nostalgia. I've said before I'm not exactly sure why so many people pine for the return of that decade, but I suppose I'm too young to understand the appeal of hair spray and spandex. Thankfully.

Making an album sound like the 80s is easy, so what's disappointing is that these guys have decided to copy that sound without admitting that thirty years have passed by since then. The over-saturated guitar sound is out of style now, and sounds muffled to modern ears, but mostly it's the idea that Eisley should be fronting a band at this point. I don't know what his voice used to be, but it's not strong enough now to do this. Aside from the short sections where he gets to sing softly, he's strained and rough, and not in a pleasant way. It's not as bad as, say, Danzig's voice today, but it's not pretty to listen to.

The other problem is that the songwriting hearkens back to the 80s, when this kind of rock was still fresh enough that image made hits more than the actual music did. What I'm saying is that these are the kinds of songs that are completely forgettable when you hear them, but might have stood a chance if there was a great video being played twenty times a day on MTV. Those days are long gone, so this kind of music just isn't good enough anymore.

The other thing this album does is point out that Ronnie James Dio has never been given the credit he deserves as a songwriter and band leader. No matter who he worked with as a guitar player, none of them ever played better than when they were with him. Goldy is absolutely on that list, as he sounds like a completely different player on his own. He doesn't deliver any riffs on this record that stand out, nothing that would justify the talk of him as one of the lost greats of his time. He's ok, but that's about it.

I don't want to know two guys who decided they want to stay in the game and make music. There are too many who stop entirely, and then complain about nothing but as good as it was. Being an artist means staying active, staying creative. I applaud Eisley and Goldy for trying, but respect only goes so far. The effort they made is commendable, but the music isn't.

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