"Now You Know" 

By Dark Starr

More or less a heavy metal album, this does have a lot of leanings toward AOR mainstream music. The vocals most often sound like Pat Benatar, but it also calls to mind things like Lacuna Coil to a large degree because of the singing. Musicians on the disc include Billy Sheehan (Mr. Big, Winery Dogs), Ray Luzier (Korn, KXM), Ron Bumblefoot Thal (Guns N Roses), Russ (Satchel) Parrish (Steel Panther) and Corey Lowery (Saint Asonia, Stuck Mojo). It’s a good set, but has a tendency to get a bit samey. 

Powering in fairly slow and dramatic, the opening “Monster” builds out to something a bit like European epic metal. It’s a powerful cut. The funny thing is, as strong as the musical structure is (and it’s stomping, really), it pales behind the killer vocal performance. In some ways the vocals make me think of a metal Pat Benatar. This piece has a real Lacuna Coil kind of vibe, too. It’s an exceptional starter. 

More mainstream rock in some ways, “Perfect Nightmare” is still another that has a lot of epic metal built into it. It’s no less of a powerful cut. I like this one a lot. It’s a different edge of the sword. While the other one was more of a heavy cut this is more like mainstream rock with metal built into it. 

Frantic and furious, “Something Better” (Now You Know) is more modern in tone and style. It’s also quite literally a screamer. There is a real anger here. It reminds me of something Korn might do, but with those female vocals built into it. It’s great that it shows another completely different sound. 

“Left for Dead” is more of a melodic rocker. Sure, there is still metal built into this beast, but it’s mainstream hard rock based, too. It’s quite modern in texture. It’s yet a different sound, but also a strong one. Less metal than some of the others, “Witchcraft” is still energized and crunchy. It’s one of the more modern cuts here. It’s also another strong one. 

“More Than Misery” is another screaming hot rocker. It’s very much an epic metal styled piece. I like the mix of mainstream and metallic sounds on this tune. “Better Day” is a great ballad. It’s a nice change of pace. It still has some crunch, but I’d consider this more mainstream rock than I would metal. 

After 2 AM – Powering in quite heavy, somehow it feels like a cross between Iron Maiden and Godsmack musically to me. Beyond that, it’s not a big surprise. It’s a solid metal tune with melodic hooks.

Nothing to Lose – The formula is starting to wear a bit thin here. This song just doesn’t feel all that different from the rest. That said, the vocals still make it worthwhile. 

Under The Microscope – Here we have a screaming hot tune that’s quite different. It’s very modern in texture, but also rather odd (in a good way). There are hints of world music in the mix here. This is one of the coolest cuts here. It’s also a much needed bit of variety. 

More mainstream rock oriented, “Sacrifice” feels like a more modern, crunchier version of Pat Benatar to me. It does get extremely heavy later in the piece. “Pain” is another ballad. It’s more mainstream rock music than it is metal for sure. It’s also a very strong tune. 

Another metal stomper, “Can't Stand” is energized and classy. It does have some changes to more melodic music. It’s a good cut. “Anyone Who Had a Heart” isn’t metal at all. Instead, it has a great old school rock music vibe. It even has some hints of jazz and R & B. I like the change it presents, but I think maybe it would have been better some place else on the album, allowing for a stomper to close the set.