For a contemporary heavy music market where intricacy is valued more than ever, once in a while, straightforward and simple wins the day.
Chuck Garric, veteran bassist for Alice Cooper and affiliate of a Who's Who list in hard rock and metal ranging from Ronnie James Dio to Steven Tyler to CHEAP TRICK, leads his own power rock posse reportedly named after his dog, BEASTO BLANCO. Garric's mission to release his own music (once under the monikers THE DRUTS and THE BARONS) finds him adding guitar and vocals to his bass licks for a tirelessly whumping rawk ride, "Live Fast Die Loud".
Garric brings with him Chris Latham (lead guitars) plus Glen Sobel from the Alice Cooper band and Uncle Alice's daughter Calico, who cuts some backing vocals for the title track and the album's first single, "Breakdown". Joining the femme fatale hit squad fuming behind Garric (and supplying keys) on some of the songs of "Live Fast Die Young" is Tiffany Lowe. BEASTO BLANCO's trio of kit smashers consist of Tim Husung and former Alice Cooper drummer Jonathan Mover in addition to Glen Sobel. Additionally, Jan LeGrow laid down some bass contributions.
Clearly Garric's been chomping at the bit to get out on his own and BEASTO BLANCO is an energetic mofo, whipping out a guileless overhaul of Rob Zombie all over the place, most gratuitously on the title track, "Blood Shot", "Beasto Blanco" and of course, "Breakdown". Yet Garric and company don't dip into Zombie's world of undead drag queens and grade babe ghoulinas. "Live Fast Die Loud" instead attempts to recreate a full-frontal, party-minded style of modern heavy rock cultivated largely from the buzz-bombed jives of Rob Zombie. It's not all played in this key, however; for example, MOTÖRHEAD is an obvious inspiration for "Beg to Differ".
Sometimes the vocals mimic Rob Zombie with alarming exactness ("California", for example), but most of the time, Garric, who handles primary singing duties, spews more choke and spittle into his raspy delivery. The coolest quality to BEASTO BLANCO is its unabashed thrusts and throbs, living for the kinks of rock 'n roll. They would be an automatic Billboard burner if it was more rock-friendly these days. Whether you rebuke or embrace what Garric's trying to accomplish with "Live Fast Die Loud", the guy knows how to pour it on, making his album an entertaining, if at-times derivative jaunt.
The stifled and repetitive "Viva Las Vegas Nights" is the only real throwaway tune, but "Motorqueen" comes snarling immediately thereafter as the heaviest thing on this album, coiled with a beefy set of riffs that sound bred from KISS and Alice Cooper's darkest corners. Opening the album with a pretty cool flamenco sprawl on "Ill Nostro Spirito", Tiffany Lowe subsequently rips out her best Lucia Cifarelli (KMFDM) impression behind Garric on the anthem-driven choruses of "Beasto Blanco". Calico Cooper later seethes pleasingly on "Breakdown", getting right into the heat of things with Garric as he woofs "bang bang, baby!" lasciviously in response.
BEASTO BLANCO's biggest asset is that they shoot for the same level of arena amp rock that Chuck Garric and his cohorts are plenty familiar with. Whether they make it there on their own remains to be seen, but "Live Fast Die Loud" refuses to quit, and you have to tip your hat in that respect. This album makes no pretentions of what it is. It's loud, it's pumping and it's surprisingly effective.