REVIEW: DEE SNIDER – “Leave A Scar”
In 2018, a living legend of heavy metal was perched on the precipice of retirement. Dee Snider (Twisted Sister, Widowmaker) had quietly announced amongst his family, band, and management that he would be stepping away from music. For a minute there it looked like he just might. Snider even gifted away twenty-year-old stage boots to his number one fan. Now, the singer needs them back in a hurry as he returns, ready to rock again, to the surprise of absolutely no one. Beginning with his upcoming new album, ‘Leave A Scar’ which sets ablaze everything fans may have thought they knew about the man while cementing for Snider a place all his own in contemporary metal.
‘Leave A Scar’ also marks Snider’s return to penning lyrics for the first time since Widowmaker. Pandemics, politics, and where he fits into what he loves as a veteran musician in 2021 prove fertile lyrical ground. Challenging concepts that pave the way for a wealth of anger, frustration, and heart coming through on many performances. “I Gotta Rock (again)”, sees Snider reasserting the declaration he championed in 1984 and, while the title may hint of Dad rock, thankfully it doesn’t become the musical equivalent of watching your favourite pub burn down. Rather, this massive opening track kicks in the door, makes no apologies, and instead of taking no prisoners invites them to join in the same door-kicking festivities Snider’s stage boots often hunger for.
Back in the producing saddle, Jamey Jasta (Hatebreed) serves as the first producer to work with Snider on two consecutive records. After the chart flipping success of Snider’s transformative, ‘For the Love of Metal’, it wasn’t going to take a psychic at a bachelorette party to predict a second call to Jasta was written in the stars. For when this pair come together, tracks such as the groove driven thunderbolt “S.H.E” are born. Even when certain songs might seem like they are operating on opposite ends of the spectrum, tracks such as the gang chanting “Before I Go”, the guitar dueling “In for The Kill” and the much discussed “Time to Choose” featuring guest vocalist George “Corpesgrinder” Fisher” of Cannibal Corpse, see all working together and achieving a harmonious focus.
2021 and Snider is still an admired vocalist and one of the most celebrated frontmen in the heavy metal community, with stories ranging from Celine Dion to SpongeBob SquarePants. Probably the only person who can make that sound cool and worth bragging about. With ‘Leave A Scar’ Snider does not reinvent heavy metal, nor is that his aim. What it does is reinvent Snider’s place within metal. There is no reunion tour or safety net in the form of greatest hits here. It is the antithesis of all that. Asking the question, what remains when you take all that away? What we are left with is a constant defender of rock and heavy metal who has maintained a firm hand on its musical pulse. One whose bravery, intelligence, and musicianship, to this day, continues to leave far more than just a mark.