Black 'N Blue

Hell Yeah!

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It may not have ranked among the great mysterious lost albums with Guns N' Roses' Chinese Democracy, but Hell Yeah!, the reunion album of much less prominent ‘80s hair metal band Black ‘n Blue, has also suffered a lengthy period on the shelf, having been intended for release in 2003, but not turning up until 2011. That makes it the group's first new studio album in 23 years. The reunion brought back together four-fifths of the original outfit, with original singer Jaime St. James, guitarist Jeff Warner, bassist Patrick Young, and drummer Pete Holmes in place, but guitarist Tommy Thayer still playing in Kiss and replaced here by Shawn Sonnenschein. Black ‘n Blue seems to have been intent on re-creating their original sound on Hell Yeah!, and that means pop metal in the mode of Mötley Crüe and Ratt, with the power chords to the fore and St. James huskily singing suggestive lyrics leading quickly to singalong choruses. It's easy to imagine head-banging crowds joining him in shouting, "You're my monkey/Get off my back!" ("Monkey"), "I got a target, and you're the one" ("Target"), or something even simpler, like "Hail, hail to rock & roll!" ("Hail Hail"), and "Are you ready to rock?" ("C'mon"). Even the relative mouthful title "Angry Drunk Son of a Bitch" gets truncated for audience-chanting purposes to "A-D-S-O-B!" Toward the end of the disc, the band tries some changes of pace, including the short acoustic guitar instrumental "Trippin'"; "Falling Down," which sounds more like late-period classic rock than hair metal; and "World Goes Round," which has an Indian sound. But there are plenty of songs here ready for comeback set lists, and given the long period between recording and release, some of them no doubt have been in the set for some time.

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