Release: July 27, 2018
Label: Napalm Records
From a musical angle, For the Love of Metal is Dee Snider’s love letter to contemporary hard rock and metal. At the core, Snider and his band craft a mostly decent combination of modern hard rock and various modern metal stylings. Where the band really excel are on the faster and more “metal” tracks. The album opener, “Lies are a Business,” in particular is a great opening salvo that sounds reminiscent of early 90s Judas Priest with the voice of Twisted Sister out front. The quasi prog meets Alice in Chains track “Mask” and the classic metal of “Become the Storm” are also standout tracks. As the quality of the material is concerned, there is definitely more good than bad. The places where the record really falters are where the band lean more heavily toward the modern radio hard rock side of things. Tracks like “I am the Hurricane” and “American Made” can prove a little difficult to get through if you are the type that finds yourself reaching for the radio dial in revulsion every time the local DJ decides to treat your ears to the hard rock stylings of say Five Finger Death Punch. I have no clue who the players are (according to Metal Archives it’s Rudy Sarzo on Bass, Bob Kulick on Guitar, Brett Chassen on Drums, and Doug Katsaros on Keys, but its MA, so take it with a grain of salt), but they definitely turn in good performances. Everyone is tight and locked in. Which, let’s be honest here, is pretty much a requirement for effective heavy metal music and something that is all too often overlooked in modern times. Dee’s voice is, well, Dee’s voice. As is usually the case with Snider, he sounds great during heavy sections, but when the music pulls back there’s just something about the tone that doesn’t work. Thankfully, there’s not much in the way of balladry going on here. My biggest negative criticism of For the Love of Metal would be the production provided by Jamey Jasta. Heavy Metal is a genre that can very quickly be dragged down, if not outright killed, by overproduction. There’s a point at which things become so pristine that all edge and definition are shaved away, not good in a genre where one of the defining characteristics is its vertical, almost mechanical feel. Jasta’s production renders crash cymbals ill defined, with any attack lost under a sea of wash. Lead guitars have a tendency to be almost buried under a wall of rhythm guitars that sometimes run dangerously close to devolving into a sea of mud. And where is the bass? Quite possibly the biggest casualty of this is the albums tenth track, “The Hardest Way.”
For the Love of Metal is a mostly enjoyable record that only really fails when trying too hard to court modern rock radio programmers. It mostly manages its peculiar mixture of 90s groove metal, classic metal, and radio rock pretty well. The band would do well to get a proper producer for their next offering however.
Standout tracks: Lies are a Business, Mask, Become the Storm, For the Love of Metal