BravePicks 2020 - ALCATRAZZ's Born Innocent #9

December 23, 2020, 3 years ago

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BravePicks 2020 - ALCATRAZZ's Born Innocent #9

If there was any year that music was a true saviour, it was 2020. The ultimate diversion, as the world sits in virtual stagnation waiting anxiously for a fix. We will keep it brief here with the COVID commentary. Let’s let the music speak for itself. It is time to unveil our annual BravePicks countdown, where the devout scribes at BraveWords cast their votes at the hits and misses of the year! So who will be our #1? You’ll find out as we count down the BravePick Of 2020 each day in December! 

Everybody has an opinion and it’s time for ours! And stay tuned in January for the writers’ individual Top 20s (new studio albums ONLY), Top 5 Brave Embarrassments (a fan favorite!), What/Who Needs To Stop In 2021? and Metal Predictions For 2021. Sadly no concerts. But all will be showcased come the New Year!

This virus can go to hell! Let’s let the Top 30 releases of 2020 rock your world!

BravePicks 2020

9) ALCATRAZZ - Born Innocent (Silver Lining)

The comeback of the year, hard rockers Alcatrazz returned with their first full-length album since 1986! The Graham Bonnet led unit did not mess around with Born Innocent, an album that doesn’t mess around, doesn’t sound dated, and delivers on all fronts with straight-ahead rock and a refreshed lineup of Bonnet, bassist Gary Shea, keyboardist Jimmy Waldo, drummer Mark Benquechea, and guitarist Joe Stump. These veteran dogs still have much bite left in them and it’s astounding Bonnet sounds as fresh as ever at 72 years old! We are bummed this lineup has fractured into two camps, but at least we were graced this incredible album, landing at #9 on our countdown.

Scribe Mark Gromen wrote in his review: Thankfully no re-invention, or updating of the classic sound, this is identifiable as Alcatrazz, as much for Waldo's prominent keys, as the odd crazy guitar and/or Bonnet's trademark voice.

The opening/title cut sees Impellitteri go off, easily the most intense number of the baker's dozen. Bonnet is in fine form. Said number is a representative example to play to those that might (somehow) be unfamiliar with the band's repertoire. Speedy "Finn McCool" inhabits similar (albeit more lyrical/commercially accessible) territory. Even though Bonnet was the initial calling card, always envisioned Alcatrazz as a guitarist showcase (undoubtedly, much to Waldo & Shea's chagrin), but with Malmsteen & Vai in the driver's seat, how could it have be otherwise. Now, Stump shows off his quick picking, sweeps and neo-classical arsenal, as well. Lyrics are often tongue-in-cheek, Graham pulling from his lengthy career, to impart seemingly autobiographical material. Case in point, 'The Wound Is Open" and mid-tempo "We Still Remember", which appears to be a sequel to the debut's "Island In the Sun", thematically.

BravePicks 2020 Top 30

9) ALCATRAZZ - Born Innocent (Silver Lining)
10) NAPALM DEATH - Throes Of Joy In The Jaws Of Defeatism (Century Media)
11) UNLEASH THE ARCHERS - Abyss (Napalm)
12) BLACK STONE CHERRY - The Human Condition (Mascot)
13) HAUNT - Mind Freeze (Shadow Kingdom)
14) ANAAL NATHRAKH - Endarkenment
15) AC/DC - PWRϟUP (Columbia/Sony)
16) BENEDICTION - Scriptures (Nuclear Blast)
17) KATAKLYSM - Unconquered (Nuclear Blast)
18) BLACKGUARD - Storm (Independent)
19) MEXICAN APE-LORD - Survival Cannibalism (Unable)
20) THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER - Verminous (Metal Blade)
21) ENSIFERUM - Thalassic (Metal Blade)
22) PROTEST THE HERO - Palimpsest (Spinefarm)
23) SODOM - Genesis XIX (Steamhammer)
24) INCANTATION - Sect Of Vile Divinities (Relapse)
25) MIDNIGHT - Rebirth By Blasphemy (Metal Blade)
26) NAGLFAR - Cerecloth (Century Media)
27) RAVEN - Metal City (SPV/Steamhammer)
28) KIRK WINDSTEIN - Dream In Motion (Entertainment One)
29) VANDEN PLAS - The Ghost Xperiment: Illumination (Frontiers)
30) GREEN CARNATION - Leaves of Yesteryear (Season of Mist)

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