Now this ranks up there as one of the feel-good stories of 2016 in music, considering all the sadness we've experienced. After the passing of Lemmy Kilmister, MOTÖRHEAD's remnants are doing the right thing by letting the band rest and moving on. Mikkey Dee's hooked up with theSCORPIONS, and Phil Campbell swings his guitar toward a homebrewed entity with his three sons — Todd, Dane and Tyla Campbell — and emerging vocalist Neil Starr.
PHIL CAMPBELL AND THE BASTARD SONS is one the smarmiest names for a band in ages, and its equally fun debut EP hits on five different dynamics in as many tries. The brisk and banging "No Turning Back" registers the closest to MOTÖRHEAD, while the other songs are far removed. If you can imagine Phil Campbell flubbing his chance at destiny and somehow bringing his old band PERSIAN RISK up to the limit, this EP is what the latter scenario might sound like at times.
The opening number "Big Mouth" is a pumping amalgam of classic heavy metal and a snotty, new school snarl. Phil, Todd and Tyla strum the hell out of their strings in time to a tireless throb from Dane Campbell. Neil Starr fumes and curses with all the attitude needed to make an impression amidst a wilderness of new voices deserving of acclaim. Starr stands to rise as a major player in metal as he handles the muscular, SCORPIONS-esque "Spiders" with a swagger nearly up to Phil Campbell's fret wringing.
"Take Aim" is a freewheeling hair metal-meets-FOO FIGHTERS collision that works superbly with Tyla Campbell delivering a quivering set of bass riffs to amp Dane's steady slamming. The choruses beg to be sung along to as "Take Aim" mounts until it drops down and lets Phil Campbell twist a knotty solo into it.
What must've been on the Campbell boys' minds having to provide a MOTÖRHEAD mosh behind "No Turning Back". Despite the fast familiarities of the song (Phil's blazing solo takes his listeners home as much as the speedy verses), Neil Starr seizes the top end of the track with an un-Lemmy-like clean soar. The breakdown changes the mood altogether until blitzing back into ferocious action. Finishing with the acoustic placidity of "Life In Space", PHIL CAMPBELL AND THE BASTARD SONS drop its own take on EXTREME's stripped-down balladry, right down to Neil Starr pulling off a modified Gary Cherone.
Where this goes, who knows, but kudos to Phil Campbell for healing his wounds where it counts the most: within the nurturing safeguard of family.