Following the sad passing of Lemmy Kilmister in 2015 resulting in the end of Motorhead, lead guitarist Phil Campbell soldiered on to form Phil Cambell And The Bastard Sons, featuring Todd Campbell on guitar, Dane Campbell on drums and Tyla Campbell on bass guitar. A self-titled EP in 2016 and debut album in 2018 showed excellent promise so here we are in 2019 seeing the release of Phil’s debut solo album, the aptly titled Old Lions Still Roar.
Phil wrote the songs and sent them to a myriad of musicians/vocalists to feature on them and it contains some stellar performances, to say the least! It kicks off in style with ‘Rocking Chair’ featuring Leon Stanford who delivers some very personal lyrics in the choruses of “I’m not sitting in no rocking chair, I’ll be playing in this rocking band. Gonna play to whoever’s there, playing in a rocking band”. Another gem is “Played every bar in the south of Wales, got my first Les Paul in the New Year sales”. He also refers to his early band Persian Risk and his “Three sons and a loving wife” but the most gripping is a tribute to Lemmy with “You know we travelled the whole world together, hearing the whole world screaming “I don’t want to live forever”.
Things get heavier with ‘Straight Up’ featuring the metal god Rob Halford on lead vocals. He is backed by a simple but effective earworm main riff and booming bass guitar thunder. The mighty Ben Ward from Orange Goblin gives it his all in ‘Faith In Fire’ as brooding riffed verses flex their muscles during the choruses as it heads off into a stoner groove midway with wailing solos and Earth shaking drum patterns. There is no mistaking the snarl of Alice Cooper as he adds extra bite to ‘Swing It’, the heaviest track on the album. Ex Skin vocalist Nev McDonald owns ‘Left For Dead’ completely as his throaty delivery could make grown men cry during this spine-tingling ballad of love lost and the icing on the cake comes from a bluesy guitar solo.
The quirkily titled ‘Walk The Talk’ features Danko Jones on lead vocals with backing vocals and fuzzed up bass guitar of monstrous proportions from Nick Oliveri. An over the top wah-wah guitar solo midway and snapping snare work from Korn drummer Ray Luzier keeps the metal bar raised high. The highlight for me though is ‘These Old Boots’ which is belted out with 100% conviction from Dee Snider. It has old school running through its veins and as if it could not get any more metal, Mick Mars fires out a solo! A menacing croon from Whitfield Crane of Ugly Kid Joe adds extra ire to the grungy grooves of ‘Dancing Dogs (Love Survives).
The album ends on two highly charged emotional songs. Not rock or metal but still have plenty of power to pack a punch. ‘Dead Roses’ features a phenomenal vocal from Skindred’s Benji Webbe. It’s a rollercoaster ride of emotions as his tear-jerking delivery sidles alongside a sultry piano and wistful guitars. Even more stripped back is ‘Tears From A Glass Eye’, an instrumental whisper courtesy of Joe Satriani that highlights the diversity of this album.
Old Lions Still Roar track listing :-
Rocking Chair – Leon Stanford lead vocals, Todd Campbell guitar, Will Davies bass guitar.
Straight Up – Rob Halford lead vocals, Tyla Campbell bass guitar, Dane Campbell drums.
Faith In Fire – Ben Ward lead vocals, Tim Atkinson bass guitar, Robyn Griffith drums.
Swing It – Alice Cooper lead vocals, Chuck Garric bass guitar, Dane Campbell drums.
Left For Dead – Nev McDonald lead vocals, Mark King bass guitar, Danny Owen keyboards, Tyla Campbell acoustic guitar, Dane Campbell drums.
Walk The Talk – Danko Jones lead vocals, Nick Oliveri bass guitar and backing vocals, Ray Luzier drums.
These Old Boots – Dee Snider lead vocals, Mick Mars guitar, Chris Fehn drums, Todd Campbell guitar.
Dancing Dogs (Love Survives) – Whitfield Crane lead vocals, Tyla Campbell bass guitar, Dane Campbell drums.
Dead Roses – Benji Webb lead vocals, Will Davies bass guitar, Matt Sorum drums.
Tears From A Glass Eye – Joe Satriani acoustic guitar.
Phil Campbell – Old Lions Still Roar is out now via Nuclear Blast.