Heavy Metal Kids

Hit the Right Button

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Re-forming around three original members but scarcely comparable to the band that burned so brightly (if briefly) during the mid-'70s, the Heavy Metal Kids returned to the fray just short of their own 30th anniversary and, astonishingly, attracted more applause in this guise than they ever mustered the first time around. The most obvious difference between then and now, of course, is keyboard player Danny Peyronel's vocals -- nobody could truly replace the late Gary Holton, but Peyronel's tones were at least familiar from his vocal outings on the three original albums, and with a set of songs that matched them -- something that was rarely the case the first time around -- he acquits himself well. Both "Message" and "Blow It All Away" certainly hark back to former days, while the ballad "I Walk Alone" could easily be compared with Anvil Chorus' "Situation's Out of Control." There's also a revitalized sense of the old band's ability to mix things up -- the album's closer, "Crool World," is all over the place stylistically, but has a dynamically anthemic quality regardless. In fairness to the old brand name, the reborn Kids have as much in common with Peyronel's stint in UFO as with the Heavy Metal Kids of legend. But Hit the Right Button certainly lives up to its title and, if all reunions could prove this successful, maybe listeners wouldn't groan so much when learning about another one headed down the turnpike.

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