Michael Grant & The Assassins // Always The Villain // Album Review
This is one hell of a debut album that encapsulates all that is good in hard rock. A labor of love for Michael Grant who never mind he wrote, recorded and produced the album but also played all the instruments just so it gives the listener the full musical experience that he feels the album deserves. Eleven tracks that span the spectrum of hard rock and he sticks it on each one.
“Barrel Of A Gun” opens with a bitchin riff that runs through the track, pounding drum beat and Grant spitting out lyrics like a madman. It’s a real high paced start to the album and sets the tone for what follows with brilliant guitars and solos interlaced seamlessly. Title track “Always The Villian” starts out much the same as the previous track but with a cool bass line rumbling underneath the drums, this track has a killer hook and when it hits you find yourself humming along initially and by the second or third rotation you will be screaming along, always a great indication of how good a song is, not to mention a killer solo. “Killing Me Slowly” is a much heavier affair with grinding guitars and a more pronounced drum beat giving a real heavy melodic feel, again the chorus is really catchy and the Tom Morello like solo is brilliant, Grant’s vocals are off the charts here as well and it gives the track a little something extra. “Nightmares” is a kind of power ballad, a drum led track with mellow guitars and bass that intensify as the track progresses as it hits the high point there is a piano and guitar solo trade-off which is quite stunning, this is one of the best tracks on the album. “Red Light Run” is a cool track with a great riff and a drum beat that turns into a real earworm after multiple spins, it just grabs you, it’s very reminiscent of The Walls “To The Bright And Shining Sun” in that it just mesmerizes.
“Anthem Of Us” is as the title suggests, an Anthem that will have crowds, when we’re back to normal, on their feet screaming along to every word. “Break Me With U” is a heavy bass track with a funky keyboard running alongside it, while for the most part the guitar takes a back seat but when it comes to the fore it really takes over with a cool solo and some great riffs. “Death Of Me” is a funky track again with a bass-heavy sound that it would not be amiss on a Faith No More album with Grant channeling his inner Mike Patton, a cracking track. “Runaway(Can You Stand The Rain)” is riff-driven catchy number that has a pop-punk feel to it with a great chorus that ingrains itself in your brain. “Gimme Salvation” is a gritty number with a thick bass line, snappy drums and a chugging riff with a funky little twist thrown in throughout the track and a classy solo for good measure. “Secrets” closes out the album in stunning style, with an easy-paced opening before it explodes with kicking drums and guitar, the song ebbs and flows throughout with the drums to the fore until Grant unleashes a ripper solo just past the midway point as the intensity picks up all the way to the finish.
Always The Villianis out 10th of July via Frontiers Music and is a must-have!
Barrel Of A Gun
Always The Villian
Killing Me Slowly
Red Light Run
Anthem Of Us
Break Me With U
Death Of Me
Runaway (Can You Stand The Rain)
Drums on tracks 1, 4, 7, 8 & 10 performed by: Shane Fitzgibbon