Alcatrazz // Take no Prisoners // Album Review


Alcatrazz, probably now referred to as classic rock, was formed in 1983 and could be described as a supergroup, having had Rainbow vocalist Graham Bonnett, a previously unknown Yngwie Malmsteen and Steve Vai as members. Unfortunately, this band has been beset by internal disagreements leading to two separate line-ups under the same name. This album is from the Waldo-Shea line-up of band-hopping legend Doogie White on vocals, Jimmy Waldo on keyboards, Joe Stump of Reign of Terror on guitar, Gary Shea on bass and new drummer Larry Paterson on drums.

As the first track ‘Little Viper’ hits you it’s immediately apparent why Joe Stump is ranked in the top 10 fastest guitarists and known as “The Shredlord”! This album is aptly named as it launches us into a storm of speed metal, but there is superb musicianship on show here.

‘Don’t get Mad… Get Even’ – there’s a resemblance between Doogie’s vocals and those of Saxon’s Biff Byford, and that similarity extends to the riff-based rock with catchphrase choruses on this track. ‘Battlelines’ continues with a historical lament and tribute to the tragedy of war, adorned with fiercely melodic and heavy guitar solos.

A slightly messy ballad-style clean guitar intro takes us into ‘Strangers’, starting as a Dio-esque religion-themed, guitar-heavy, doom-laden slow rocking ballad. The track speeds up into an apocalyptic solo, a reprise of the chorus and fades out for the start of ‘Gates of Destiny’. Waldo’s majestic keyboard work jousts with Stump’s guitar over a frenzy of gothic lyrical imagery.

It’s unusual for a band to have a song with an eponymous title this far along, but the next song is called ‘Alcatrazz’. Viking-style backing vocals accompany a power metal musical exploration of Alcatraz Island and its infamous maximum-security prison.

Anyone expecting the next track, ‘Holy Roller (Love’s Temple)’ to be a cover of Nazareth’s similarly named 1975 classic will be disappointed. Still, a solid metal track, again guitar heavy then gives way to the Hammond/guitar intro of ‘Power in Numbers’, back to the battlefield with touches of Iron Maiden in the mix.

Revolution is the theme of the penultimate track ‘Salute the Colours’ in an album dominated by themes of battle, war, and destruction. The humour in the title of the closer ‘Bring on the Rawk’ betrays a fast fist-pumper and the lyric “This is not the end!” takes the album to, well, the end!

Although this album feels slightly repetitive in places, it’s well-produced, a solid contribution to heavy metal and worth checking out, especially for Joe Stump’s expert guitar work.

Take no Prisoners’ will be released on the 25th of May through Silver Lining Music.


Review: Dave Smith Price 








Take No Prisoners Track Listing:

  1. Little Viper                         
  2. Don’t Get Mad… Get Even (feat.Girlschool)
  3. Battlelines
  4. Strangers
  5. Gates of Destiny
  6. Alcatrazz
  7. Holy Roller (Love’s Temple)
  8. Power in Numbers
  9. Salute the Colours
  10. Bring on the Rawk

Alcatrazz are:
Jimmy Waldo – Keyboards
Gary Shea – Bass
Doogie White – Vocals
Joe Stump – Guitar
Larry Paterson – Drums

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