Three years ago, legendary metal icon Dee Snider showed the metal community that he was still a force to be reckoned with. Hatebreed frontman Jamey Jasta had challenged Snider during a podcast to collaborate on a new project and the former Twisted Sister frontman accepted the challenge. This resulted in ‘For the Love of Metal‘, a full-length record which saw Dee Snider at his heaviest as he collaborated with a star-studded panel of special guest musicians from a wide variety of bands. Now three years later, Dee Snider is back with ‘Leave a Scar‘, a new album which is once again produced by Jamey Jasta and released through Napalm Records.
Had it not been for certain events though, this new album would have never seen the light of day. Back in 2019, after the overwhelming success of ‘For the Love of Metal‘, Dee Snider actually felt that this was the right time for him to call it quits and to leave the metal scene behind on a high note. But then in mid-2020 he changed his mind again due to the pandemic and the rising political unrest he was seeing all over the world. These global events compelled him to return, as he had a few more things to say after all. For this new album he even wrote most of the songs himself, which he hadn’t done since back in the ’90s, making ‘Leave a Scar‘ a much more personal album.
‘For the Love of Metal‘ was surprisingly heavier than what we usually got from Dee Snider in the past. I’m happy to report that ‘Leave a Scar‘ is similarly heavy. Dee Snider‘s voice still sounds amazing and bursting with energy, despite him being a sexagenarian. He is accompanied by Charlie Bellmore and Nick Petrino on guitars, Russell Pzutto on bass and Nick Bellmore on drums.
There’s even a guest appearance from George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher (Cannibal Corpse) on the song ‘Time to Choose‘. This is a rather unusual pairing, since old school rockers generally tend to dismiss harsher types of music such as death metal or black metal. At first, I found the inclusion of Corpsegrinder to be a bit odd. After repeated listenings however, his growling vocals work surprisingly well as they emphasize Snider‘s message.
The opening track ‘I Gotta Rock (Again)‘, is an absolute banger that immediately sets the tone for the rest of the album. The lyrics are also very fitting, coming from the guy who gave us classic anthems such as ‘You Can’t Stop Rock ‘n’ Roll‘, ‘I Wanna Rock‘ and ‘I Believe in Rock ‘n’ Roll‘ back in the ’80s. Lyrically, the rest of the album alternates between inspiring, damning and more intimately personal songs. ‘Before I Go‘ and ‘S.H.E.‘ are prime examples of Dee Snider reflecting upon his personal life, while ‘Crying For Your Life‘ is a prime example of a damning song. When I listen to it, I can’t help but imagine Dee Snider is addressing and condemning the people who stormed the United States Capitol on January 6th, 2021.
Two of my personal favourites on this new album are ‘Silent Battles‘ and ‘Stand‘. ‘Silent Battles‘ is an emotionally charged song about isolation and struggling with mental health. Something that a lot more people have been experiencing lately due to the pandemic. ‘Stand‘ is an inspiring ballad that functions as a rallying cry for action. You could argue that this song is also the album’s title track, since the line “Leave a Scar” is present during its chorus.
I’m not really sure what to make of Marcelo Vasco‘s gory cover artwork. Although it is visually striking, it seems more fitting for a thrash metal album from Slayer or Kreator. I’ll give it props though for sticking out and for being radically different from previous Dee Snider albums.
Release date: July 30th, 2021
Label: Napalm Records
- I Gotta Rock (Again)
- All or Nothing More
- Down But Never Out
- Before I Go
- Open Season
- Silent Battles
- Crying For Your Life
- In for the Kill
- Time to Choose
- The Reckoning