I didn't know that Brian Johnson had a side project from AC/DC! What? That's not Brian Johnson? You're pulling my leg, surely I know Brian Johnson's voice when I hear it! Well according to all accounts and press releases it's definitely not Brian Johnson. From Bavaria come Cruizzen, a "bad ass", hard drivin' rock band, the beginnings of which first started in 2000. By 2006 there had been several membership and role changes within the band but they were able to issue a debut CD, Hellrocker (Light Rocker). "After six crazy years, many gigs parties, festivals, song writing sessions, studio visits and a totally crazy video shoot" in 2012 Cruizzen and members Captain H. Forster (guitar) and Alexander Mayer (vocals) decided to wrap things up. Pure Steel Records reached out to the band a year later with the proposal to produce a new album. With Mike Hennig (producer & guitar), Rene Baumann (drums) and Markus Kerscher (bass) joining Forster and Mayer, Cruizzen was reborn and Free Ride is the result. The album becomes available worldwide on December 5, 2014.
Free Ride contains thirteen selections and we begin with "Soundmaker". Starting out with a nice catchy little riff, the Brian Johnson clone vocals of Alexander Mayer kick in. "Rock and Roll Generator" is up next and Mayer shows another side to his vocal, toning down the AC/DC comparisons, but only for a second. Track #3, "Crazy Dayzz", serves as the longest with a running time of a second over five minutes and has also been awarded the video treatment. "Straight Down Dirt" exhibits a more heavy metal tone to the music and "Heaven Can Wait" features a more recognizable chorus, but the song seems to drone on. My interest is beginning to wane and "Touch of Evil"'s plodding pace does little to bring me back. The album's title track, "Free Ride", is one of the better contained here, but again gets lost in the shuffle. Fighting to maintain my attention, I managed to get through "Trouble" and "It's Over". Both simply melded into the background in all three of my listens to Free Ride. "It's Over" was appropriate for me as I could not get past this point and shut it off every time without hearing the remaining four tracks of "Lipstick On My Pillow", "Sparkplugs Blowing", "Love Is A Sweet Torment" and "Time".
Bottom line and this is just my opinion mind you: It's hard to get around the AC/DC comparisons with Free Ride. Aside from that they are obviously competent musicians and I mean no disrespect but it all just blends together not distinguishable enough between tracks after awhile. The tracks do fare better mixed into a playlist rather than a complete barrage of them all packed together, but for me this album was a bit of a sleeper.
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