Horns And Halos' - mixed by Petri Majuri at Seawolf Studios, Finland - is the follow-up to 2011's critically-acclaimed 'Sensory Overdrive', winner of Classic Rock Magazine's 'Album Of The Year' and a No. 1 record in MM's Finnish homeland.
It's been a while since that brilliant piece of work that was Sensory Overdrive, just enough time for a job well done. No need to rush, especially when you have to re-adjust to song writing minus Ginger Wildheart.
So it happens that the irresistible poptastic element loses out a little bit to darker shades here and there, like on the rather unexpected 'Ritual' or 'Stained Glass Heart'; yet our blonde energy powerhouse doesn't fail to throw in unforgettable hooks - see 'Child Of The Revolution' or rock party anthem 'Saturday Night Special' - sure to get the crowd going on the next round of live shows.
The opening 'TNT Diet' breaks in raw and unmerciful, followed by the memories of an unforgotten NY past in single 'Ballad of the Lower East Side'. There's a touch of classic/bluesy, even a hint of prog in 'Eighteen Angels', then it's strokes of bright colours and grey shades on the familiar coarse canvas that is Michael's voice. The unmistakeable soundscape courtesy of Sami Yaffa, Steve Conte, Dregen and Karl Rosqvist ensures continuity despite sparks of unusual - let 'Soul Surrender' surprise you - leaving fans happy yet never bored.
It's not 'Sensory Overdrive', but 'Horns and Halos' was definitely worth the wait. No album, doesn't matter how good, should ever be written twice as long as you have any music left in you; Michael Monroe, luckily, still has a lot left to offer.
- Cristina Massei (Sonic Shocks)
1. TNT Diet
2. Ballad Of The Lower East Side
3. Eighteen Angels
4. Saturday Night Special
5. Stained Glass Heart
6. Horns And Halos
7. Child Of The Revolution
8. Soul Surrender
9. Half The Way
11. Hands Are Tied