There is nothing better than a song which has you swinging from the rafters hollering and roaring. When you get ten in one ridiculously rousing collection it borders on bliss and that is exactly what the debut album from Verni uncages. The first offering from the solo project of Overkill founder and bass player DD Verni, Barricade is one unbridled raucous anthem sprung from individual hurricanes of rock ‘n’ roll incitement and easily one of the most pleasurable offerings of the year.
An ever prolific songwriter, Verni as a project arose from a growing collection of songs which did not fit either Overkill or DD’s side outfit The Bronx Casket Co. To add extra spicing to the mix, he proceeded to approach a host of musicians to guest on them resulting in the album featuring a plethora of guitarists including Jeff Loomis (Arch Enemy), Angus Clark (Trans Siberian Orchestra), Jeff Waters (Annihilator), Bruce Franklin (Trouble), Mike Romeo (Symphony X), Mike Orlando (Adrenaline Mob), Steve Leonard (Almost Queen) and Andre “Virus” Karkos (Dope) as well as former Overkill drummer Ron Lipnicki. Putting all those lures aside, Barricade is a cauldron of temptation in its own right whether it swings with rock tenacity, trespasses with metal nurtured ferocity or snarls with punk driven belligerence.
Immediately opener Fire Up opens its sonic jaws, attention was not just lured but gripped as grooves drive a rapacious onslaught of rock ‘n’ roll. A tease of Verni’s thrash instincts unite with hard rock vivacity, riffs and rhythms colluding to create their own thick lure alongside the creative web of the guitars. DD’s vocals are a matching draw, it all stirring up quick involvement from body, voice, and neck muscles. No breath is spared as the song charges through ears spilling lust poking hooks and grooves as gang shouts holler and individual flare across the track ignites.
The following Miracle Drug is equally as virulent in its catchiness and energetic hard rock cast dynamics if taking things down a gear gait wise. But a single gear it is as the track still flies from the speakers with zeal and enterprise before Off My Leash has the body bouncing with its contagiously predacious animation. Punk and grunge infest its metal lined rock bred swagger, another collusion of flavours which seeds something truly fresh and viral. Unexpected twists only add to its relentless and unbridled tempting.
Like a wound up dervish, (We are) The Broken Ones strikes next with guitars scything across earthy rhythms as vocals inspire eager participation while Lost In The Underground embroils classic rock exploits in punk ‘n’ roll contagion to romp and stomp with the listener. Both tracks not only hit the spot but shatter it to incite a lustful union.
Through the darker thrash spun drama of The Party of No and the southern gothic drama of Night of the Swamp King the album only tightens its grip. The first has a definite Anthrax meets Dope feel to it while the second is atmospheric intimation and sonic theatre soaked in stoner intoxication; their successor, We Were Young, adding to the album’s blossoming variety with its classic rock balladry. The latter is a track we would not normally take to but courtesy of the devilish prowess of DD Verni we were firmly hooked.
The album closes up with firstly of Slow My Ride, a fervent entanglement of alternative metal and hard rock, and in turn the classic metal meets anthemic rock outing of Heaven Calling. It is probably fair to say neither lit the fires within as those before them but each escalated the undiluted enjoyment of Barricade, a pleasure which has only grown by the listen.
We are sure we will not be alone in hoping DD Verni continues to write tracks which do not fit his main projects because as much as those projects fully satisfy another Verni encounter is already the subject of hungry anticipation.
Barricade is out now via Mighty Music on CD, digitally and on Ltd white vinyl.
Pete RingMaster 17/10/2018
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