There are perhaps no two classic albums that come from two polar opposites of the rock & roll universe than Def Leppard's Pyromania and the Sex Pistols Never Mind the Bollocks. But if you think about it, each album touched off a "rock revolution" in its own way, and spawned zillions of impersonators in its own genre (the former was a blueprint for the hair metal movement of the '80s, while the latter has been studied by just about every single punk group post-1977). So when the average rock fan first hears that a Leppard (guitarist Phil Collen) and a Pistol (drummer Paul Cook) have joined forces as part of Man Raze, it's understandable that quite a few furry eyebrows will be raised. Somehow, this unlikely pairing works surprisingly well, as evidenced throughout 2008's Surreal. Rounding out the group is a former bandmate of Collen's, bassist Simon Laffy (formerly of glam rockers Girl), and like most rock trio's, Man Raze is a surprisingly lean and rocking machine. In fact, one could say that the best elements of Leppard and the Pistols rise to the surface here (instantly memorable/anthemic choruses and a live-in-the-studio-esque production, respectively). One band that Man Raze is a dead ringer for at times is the Foo Fighters -- Collen's lead vocals sound very similar to Dave Grohl's, while the trio seem to be obsessed with the "bash n' melody" approach of Grohl's group -- as evidenced by such party hearty ditties as "This Is," "Turn It Up," and "Skin Crawl." But not all of Surreal' is uptempo rockers, as evidenced by the reggae tune "Runnin' Me Up," and the more restrained "Low." However, don't be misled -- as far as picking a party-worthy album that would sound perfect blasting at your next barbecue, Surreal is it.
AllMusic Review by Greg Prato