"Mister Sippi" (Metalapolis Records; 2023)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

I don't know if it's because I knew what to expect this time out or if it's that this album is better than the band's previous "Truck Tales," but "Mister Sippi" grabbed me by the rock'n'roll throat from the very first track ("Goin' Down to Mississippi") and held it till the very last.

"Mister Sippi" is eleven tracks of classic hard rock/heavy metal in the vein of Quiet Riot and Slade. It's chock full of infectious guitar riffs, sing-along choruses, driving rhythms and pure rock'n'roll fun.

My favorite tracks were the opener (as mentioned above), the bluesy "Mamma Didn't Raise No Fools" with Jerry Lee Lewis piano; the roaring "Knight's Tale," the atmospheric "Caught in the Web" and the balls-out (no pun intended) rock'n'roll fun of "Rock Your Pants Off." Hell, I even really enjoyed the album's token ballad, "My Girl," with its surprising genuineness and poignancy.

But there's not a bad track to be found here, not a drop of filler. All eleven tracks rock like they're supposed to. The album closer, an "unplugged" version of the band's 2013 track "Cry Your Heart Out," works way better than it has any right to, and feels just perfectly placed in the album sequence.

"Mister Sippi" is an album I'm gonna be listening to a lot and it's the kind of record that makes you eager to check out the band's previous recordings and give them a listen. I can't think of a better compliment than that.

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"Truck Tales" (Sergeant Steel; 2021)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

I was excited when I heard about a new album from Sergeant Steel. Funny thing is, I couldn’t remember hearing the band before, but I’d certainly heard about the band, so the release of "Truck Tales" was something to look forward to.

So I went into the new album with no expectations. I wasn’t even sure what type of music to expect. I didn’t think it would be death metal but would it be speed metal? Thrash? Classic rock? NWOBHM?

The first thirty seconds or so of Track One, “Fight Fire With Fire,” were no help. It sounded like the background score of a movie from a scene taking place in the Middle East. But then the guitars kicked in, the keyboards chimed and the singable chorus hit, and I knew where we were headed.

“Truck Tales” is a classic hard rock album in the vein of bands like Quiet Riot and Dokken. It’s got big thick guitars, chunky grooves and party songs galore. Sergeant Steel seems to have more fun than those bands or at least be somewhat quirkier. Songs like “Dance Into the Light,” with its country-style piano intro and “Brotherhood” which starts out almost like a barbershop quartet,  stray away from what you’d expect from classic hard rock (despite some surprisingly poignant lyrics).

My favorite tracks (as usual) are the hardest rocking: "Fight Fire with Fire" gets things going but the bluesy "Voodoo Queen," the saucy "Body Language" and especially "Nightmare" really rock.

The album isn’t without its token ballad, either. "The Time Will Come" is your typical hard rock ballad, with a slower pace, gentler guitars and heartfelt lyrics. It's perfect for radio airplay.

The best thing about 'Truck Tales," however, is the band’s attitude about their music. This is no-apologies old school heavy metal and the band plays with high energy and appear to be having a blast doing it. That energy carries over to the audience, too, and makes “Truck Tales” a truly engaging listen.

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.


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