Twisted Sister. There, I’ve said it. I was always going to mention it, so it might as well be the first words.

And whatever Dee Snider does in his career, he’s probably always going to be known for that chorus, that make-up and not taking it anyway or anyhow.

But he’s always been more diverse than that, obviously and “For The Love Of Metal” is actually pretty much nothing like Twisted Sister at all. Instead, a bit like Widowmaker – the band he formed in the 90s, this is – as the title might suggest – a pure metal record.

As Snider has been telling everyone in interviews, he hasn’t had a great deal to do with the album either. It appears to have been almost entirely written by Jamey Jasta (the Hatebreed frontman also produces the thing) and that proves to be a masterstroke. “….Metal” you see,  not only manages to channel everything that is great about Snider – the bombast, the delivery, the attitude – with something that is both traditional and modern sounding, but the way that the singer delivers the songs suggests he believed every word.

The results are quite stunning. “Lies Are A Business”, which is not only full of million miles an hour metal, but a two and a half-minute maelstrom of early Maiden riffs and thrash sensibilities. It is clear that no one here is messing about, no one here is doing this by any half measures.

The bass rumble on “Tomorrow’s No Concern” emphasises that by being all kinds of mighty, and when Snider spits “I gave you yesterday, I don’t need it, because today is mine” he encapsulates the forward thinking that is contained here.

“I Am The Hurricane” is slightly overbearing, but with a modern crunch to its guitar, and its title fits perfectly, given that this is a collection that wreaks devastation, and does so quickly, while the huge thick, chugging riff that kicks off “American Made” is as testosterone fuelled as you like. Frankly, whether you are American, English or from Timbuktu then, if you’ve ever liked any rock music,  your fist is going to be in the air when it kicks in. “Roll Over You” is cut from the same cloth, like the soundtrack to some Frat Party, but saves itself from being filler by having a quite superb insistence and an undercurrent of violence – plus it sounds way more full of beans than a man in his 60s has any right to.

“I’m Ready” – and you’d best believe he sounds it too – marries its rock n roll spirit with an air of reflection: “Faced with my mortality” is the first line here ( the song was written after the death of Snider’s mother), and this air of slight vulnerability carries on through the interesting “Running Mazes” – which slams like Pantera in parts, as well as having some real melody.

“Mask” has some modern touches – but thankfully none of the modern growled vocals to go with it – and the motif of hiding the real you from the public gaze is lost on no-one, given how Snider made his name. Arena rocker in waiting, “Become The Storm” is perhaps – lyrically at least – “We’re Not Gonna Take It” 2018, with its message of stoicism and empowerment, plus the lead guitar here is stunning.

There are plenty of special guests on the album. Mark Morton (Lamb Of God), Joel Grind and Nick Bellmore (Toxic Holocaust) and Charlie Bellmore (Kingdom Of Sorrow) all lend their talents.  Light The Torch’s Howard Jones roars through “The Hardest Way” which occupies the same ballpark as a latter-day Megadeth song, while Arch Enemy’s Alissa White-Gluz puts in a superb shift on the ballad “Dead Hearts (Love Thy Enemy)” which sees even Snider play second fiddle.

The vibe of the whole thing, though, is never better found than in the title track, which finishes things. It’s first line: “I once was Under The Blade” is one of many titles of great metal songs over the years that are used and this belongs right in that company. In fact it belongs in the very top drawer.

The last line says “I do it for the love of metal, it gives me strength” and, that right there is the point. “For The Love Of Metal” is hands down and horns up, the metal album of the year so far. Being honest, probably no one expected that, but that’s the reality.

Rating 9.5/10

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