If 2017’s The Missing Peace (great in its own right) was the reunion album, an album that brought the long estranged Tracii Guns and Phil Lewis back together, then the latest album, The Devil You Know, is the one that will firmly re-establish L.A Guns as a classic hard rock band, worthy of standing along side the Motley’s and G’n’R’s of the world.
Rage is relentless from the beginning.. A perfect statement, declaring that they’re not here to fuck around. The band sounds amazing, as does Phil Lewis. The massive sing along chorus transports me back to times when hard rock ruled the world. Stay Away doesn’t back off one bit, with some sensational guitar work, and another huge chorus. L.A Guns know exactly what they’re doing, and they’re clearly in tune with what the fans want.
Loaded Bomb is as infectious as a song can be, and I can’t get it out of my head. Beginning with a jangly riff, before morphing in to a full blown hard rock banger complete with another massive sing along chorus. At this point, only three songs in to the record, I’m all in as a listener.
The title track is a highlight. Chunky riffs, a slightly darker tone and another set of killer vocals from Lewis. It’s a familiar L.A Guns sound, but it’s modern at the same time. Needle to the Bone could easily have been on the Self Titled album from ‘88, while Going High has a groove to it that just works beautifully.
Gone Honey is a glam rock anthem, and shows that the band aren’t shying away from their roots. Don’t Need to Win is a straight ahead rock song harking back to the glory days of hard rock, one that legacy fans will adore, but could easily catch the ear of newer and younger crowds too.
Down that Hole has a looser, jam band feel to it, which is a little unexpected, but works quite well. To close the album proper, we have Another Season in Hell. It’s an epic six and a half minute track that serves as somewhat of a show piece for this album, with a perfect vocal from Lewis, and some of Tracii Guns’ best guitar work on display.
Boom is a bonus track, and serves as the true closer to the version of the copy of The Devil You Know that I have. It’s another song that could slip onto one of L.A Guns earliest albums. It’s got a certain amount of dirty sleazy vibe to it, and is every bit as good as any other song on the record.
Three decades in to their career, L.A Guns are releasing music that is fresh and new, and every bit as vital as their classic releases. It’s great to see that the past is behind them, and they are looking towards a big future.