Album Review: Alcatrazz – Born Innocent

Photo taken at the Stevenson Ranch on 03/28/20.

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After a 30 plus year hiatus, Alcatrazz will release Born Innocent on July 31, which is an album that delivers and is as hard-hitting as anything out there now, before, and in the post C19 future.

These boys……er, senior men, have not missed a beat, note, or lyric in all of these decades. Founding members Gary Shea, Jimmy Waldo and Graham Bonnet have assembled a team of extreme talent to level off the playing field. Joe Stump shows why he is one of the top guitarists out there with his Yngwie-style, and drummer Mark Benquechea keeps the guys in beat and is also the baby of the band at the tender young age of 56.

Alcatrazz. Photo by Alex Solca.
Photo taken at the Stevenson Ranch on 03/28/20.

This album surprised me and I am glad I was asked to review it. All the cuts on the album helped me get through my workouts and although every tune has its stroke of genius, there are a few that stand out.

Joe’s intro riff to Body Beautiful is pure genius and you’ll know what I mean when you hear it. We Still Remember and Born Innocent are also a couple of songs that stand out for different reasons ranging from beautiful melodies to gut-wrenching arpeggios.

The album can be summed up as a generally neo-classical metal album in my opinion. Blistering riffs and solos are the norm with guest appearances by Steve Vai, Chris Impellitteri and Canadian guitar whiz, Annihilator’s Jeff Waters. It has a Rainbow/Dio/Malmsteen feel, but it is very diverse and For Tony will explain why with its very Beatles-esque groove. 

With all of the electronic genius as the icing on the cake, the real cake mix of this album is the singing of Graham Bonnet. Every song is driven by his classical range singing and his perfectly timed pauses and note hangs. At times, I could hear a bit of a Bruce Dickinson in his notes. I must admit, that the next time I listen to some Maiden, I will probably be thinking that Bruce has a bit of Graham as he exhales. 

It is of my humble opinion, that Mr Bonnet is a very underrated singer and this album will confirm that he should be at the top of the list… legendary status is not out of the question.

Mark my words, this album is the real deal and boy was I surprised, and very grateful to get the opportunity to hear and review it. The band will embark on a European tour with Girlschool starting at the end of August. Get your copy and it’ll help you through the C19 blues until we have all been granted parole.

Ernest Skinner 

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