Mayhem / Fierce Records, 1998

REVIEW BY: Paul Hanson


This review is brought to you by the adjective "stupidly," for actions that can be described as such led to the creation of the band Union.

I am obliged to start this review by mentioning that Union vocalist John Corabi was most recently in Motley Crue and that guitarist Bruce Kulick came from Kiss when Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley, stupidly, decided to reunite with Peter Criss and Ace Frehley, play 20 year old songs, and wear Halloween makeup.

Consider the union of this band: Kiss and Motley Crue. Together? For me, even in the heights of the late 80s metal movement, I wouldn't put these two on the same page. While the Crue was out doing the glamful Theater Of Pain, Kiss was in the throes of one of my favorite tapes Asylum, exploring solid metal pop. Sure, the Crue ripped off the 70s theatrics of Kiss and did plenty of interviews where they claimed Kiss was a huge influence. But musically, the guitars, bass, vocals, and drums were never really on the same page to my ears. Nikki Sixx will never be fit to tune the bass Gene Simmons plays. Likewise, the immortally overrated Tommy Lee could never, nor will ever, touch any Kiss drummer, including the deceased Eric Carr, blondie Eric Singer or their current drummer Peter Criss. Lee might be able to sing as terribly as Criss, but not play.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Yet, here is Union, uniting these two bands. Amazing.

Still, John Corabi didn't know any of that theatrical Motley Crue. No, he was stuck singing crap like "Hooligan's Holiday" and "Welcome to the Numb" (read "Dumb") on their self-titled disc. And he was brought in to replace Vince Neil, who stupidly wanted to race cars rather than make music. (That was a resounding "Duh!" you just heard.) When Neil got smart, and wanted back in to Crue, Corabi was out on the streets.

Union will send Corabi back out on the touring streets. Their debut self-titled disc is full of smart poppy metal hooks from Kulick and soulful vocals from Corabi. The rhythm section is smart and fits in with both elements. The sonic assault of "Old Man Wise" sets the disc off on the right trail. The drums are mesmerizing and played smartly on this track and throughout the disc. "Around Again" and "Pain Behind Your Eyes" keep things on the right track.

But it is songs like "Let It Flow" and "Empty Soul" where the difference emerges between this band and the rest of the genre: these songs don't suck.

If any weakness, and granted, I'm digging deep for one, could be drawn from listening to this disc, it would be that Kulick stretches out too infrequently. Kulick is one of my favorite guitarists and, for more than just the first ten seconds of "Tangerine," I wanted a full-blown kick ass guitar solo. Doesn't happen. True, his playing does fit into the role of playing with the band and I can't find fault for that. It doesn't make the disc any less of a great disc.

Aside from that, this disc is chock full of catchy riffs and good songs; nothing that I wouldn't be glad to hear 20 years down the road.

I read in Metal Edge magazine that the band is going to be touring in support of this disc, playing Kiss songs and a couple of Crue songs. They shouldn't bother. They should focus on the future, which is bright for this band.

Rating: A

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


© 1998 Paul Hanson and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Mayhem / Fierce Records, and is used for informational purposes only.