1. Hang 'Em High 2. Gone Bad 3. Run Wild Run Free (The Maverick) 4. The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter 5. Calling For You 6. See you At Sunrise 7. There's No Angels Here 8. Made For Trouble 9. Ride Thru The Storm 10. Son Of A Gun 11. Emaheeval
Well there is certainly an interesting background on this release. Desperado was a hard rock act led by the talented and infamous Dee Snider. After his long stint with main band Twisted Sister, Snider formed a rather unheard metal act in the '90s called Widowmaker. The group was a metallic hard hitter that signed with CMC for two releases, "Blood And Bullets" (1992) and "Stand By For Pain (1994). That was the decade when the rather small CMC label was putting out classic bands like Overkill, Dokken, and Saxon, before going belly-up in the late '90s. Before the first Widowmaker album was released, Snider and some well known musicians recorded an album under the name of Desperado called "Ace". This was basically an early version of Widowmaker.
"Ace" was recorded on a large budget and featured prominent members Clive Burr (ex-Iron Maiden drummer), Bernie Torme (guitarist for Ian Gillan), and Jack Russell (who stayed on with Widowmaker). The album was shelved for six years by Elektra records before finally being released in 1996 under the name of "Bloodied But Unbowed". By that time Widowmaker had come and gone, and grunge music was slowly going away in favor of industrial, nu-metal, and the dreaded rap-core. Not the most ideal time to release a straight up hard rock album on a buying public.
Now Cleopatra Records division Deadline Music has released "Ace" in its original format. This is the original eleven track album that was recorded in 1990, and does not feature the two added tracks that were released on "Bloodied But Unbowed" ("Easy Action", "Heart Of A Saturday Night"). This really should have hit shelves in the early '90s simply because hair metal and the like were still in the swing of things, and by all standards this is a fantastic display of top tier hard rock. Basically this is a southern fried chop fest set on the Sunset Strip and put on the soundtrack of an Italian spaghetti western, complete with those gunslinger, love on the run elements that fit the old west tinglings.
Opening cut "Hang 'Em High" sets the mood, sparking up a dusty harmonica intro before Torme and Snider let it rip in full LA sweat and swagger. Other cuts like "Ride Thru The Storm" and "Emaheeval" follow that outlaw persona, each attracting it's own brand of desperado hard rock that sort of fits the vibe Jon Bon Jovi was aiming for with his outlaw anthems "Blaze Of Glory" and "Wanted: Dead Or Alive". Of course there is some sappy love songs here as well, with "Calling For You" and "There's No Angels Here" a perfect choice for those Firehouse enthusiasts.
Overall this sort of project isn't nearly as heavy as the metallic and somewhat abrasive band that would follow in Widowmaker. "Ace" is more like Every Mother's Nightmare crossed with the "Young Guns II" soundtrack from Jon Bon Jovi. Throw in some Firehouse and a bit of Winger's down and dirty "Pull" session and you have the perfect '90s hard rock soundscape.
Note - Those of you looking for another great western styled hard rock album should check out Axel Rudi Pell's "Between The Walls".
About this Writer: Eric Compton // Eric Compton lives in the most haunted city in the world, St. Augustine, Florida with his family and two yorkies. He has served as senior editor for MaximumMetal.com for nearly 10 years and is the author of the heavy metal book series--Denim & Letters. His reviews, interviews and social commentary has been featured on websites like Brave Words, Blabbermouth, Metal Temple, Metal Rules, Ultimate Metal, Metal Maniacs and Wikipedia.
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