JACK STARR'S BURNING STARR - Stand Your Ground
Jack Starr may never have been among the most known metal artists, but his four decades of activity have made him an unavoidable icon over time. Being half French, he grew up in Paris where he first played with musicians who later would be members of French cult band Trust. He often started promising bands but the success didnít come. Often those bands broke apart after one single release. He was even a founding member of Virgin Steele, but left them just before they became big with their hit album Noble Savage.
And yet Jack Starr never gave up but rather stuck even more with his passion of music. He usually was playing in hard rock and heavy metal bands, but also showed talent for blues in the past. After a studio pause of six years, which he uses for intensive touring, he is now back with the seventh studio album Stand Your Ground of his band Jack Starrís Burning Starr.
He is joined by three seasoned musicians, where especially Todd Michael Hall may be known in certain circles for being the vocalist of Riot V. Bass guitarist Ned Maloni also played already in countless bands, and drummer Rhino should best be known for his brief stint in Manowar. All four musicians have actively experiences the Eighties, which can be heard very well on the album. Stand Your Ground sounds like a thoroughbred US metal album straight from the Eighties, and not only due to the vocals that naturally draw parallels to Riot, one of the pioneers of said genre. Apart from that, there are many other attributes relating to that era: dominant guitars, lot of guitar solos, melodic yet energetic vocals and a powerful rhythm section. The songs have generally a fast pace but always leave room for melodic and dramatic parts. Even the ten minute title track makes it to the end without any unnecessary lengths.
But there is also a different side to Jack Starr. Quoting Deep Purple, Scorpions, Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck among his influences, he comes with some quieter material that is often very close to kitsch. Destiny, Worlds Apart and We Are One are three tracks that the album could have done without. Subtract their twenty combined minutes, and the album would also have been more concise. Fortunately, there is also a lot of strong material. Next to the aforementioned title track, I recommend the traditional Hero for which the band made a video clip, the suspenseful False Gods and the festive Stronger Than Steel.
Stand Your Ground is an album by Jack Starrís Burning Starr that is not that different from the bandís past endeavours. Main target audience are the nostalgic, elderly metal fans, and they will probably be happy to get exactly what they expected. Those new to the metal genre or generally younger audiences might find all of this a little dusted. As I am only about a decade younger than Jack Starr, I feel right at home and enjoyed really most of the album.