NAZARETH - Tattooed On My Brain
Released October 12/18 (Frontiers)
It isn't easy to replace an iconic vocalist like Dan McCafferty, but that is exactly what Nazareth have done, just two months shy of their 50th anniversary on this, their 24th studio album. New mic man Carl Sentance (ex-Persian Rik and Krokus) has big shoes to fill, but acquits himself well. His vocals are very reminiscent of that other Krokus vocalist, Marc Storace (probably the reason Krokus hired him as a replacement for their original vocalist).
The album as a whole is consistently good (a rarity in the Nazareth catalogue) except for the final track ("You Call Me", a soft 6 minute stinker). This is the band's best output since 1998's Boogaloo. The entire band gets writing credits, and for the most part this album has the Nazareth sound. Original member, bassist Pete Agnew continues to shine as the true heart of the band, and his son Lee celebrates 20 years on the drums, while Jimmy Murrison has almost reached a quarter century on the guitar, so the fact that they continue to sound like Nazareth isn't a surprise.
However, there are some notable exceptions to the Nazareth sound. In particular, the title track is an oddity that wouldn't be out of place on a latter-era Ramones album with CJ singing....and is the best track on the album. "Never Dance with the Devil", "State of Emergency" and "Change" join the title track as the album's stand outs.
The rest of the 13 tracks are mid paced, standard Nazareth rockers. Not great, but not bad. Each listen gives you something more the chew on, so this album may be a grower. If you are a Nazareth fan and approach this album with an open mind, you will likely be surprised how strong it is.