"The Chuck Norris..."

(This Dark Reign)

01. Senorita (Lookout)
02. Little Demon
03. Radioshadow
04. I'm the Law
05. Go Heavy (on the Honey)
06. Dinosaur Fire
07. Reason for my Bad
08. Speedfever
09. Caped Crusader
10. Ugly Motherfucker Looking Just Like You

RATING: 5.5/10

There is something to be said about back-to-basic, riff-heavy rock and roll, but it may not always be said in glowing terms. Featuring members of RICKSHAW, TIAMAT, and TAURUS, Sweden's THE CHUCK NORRIS EXPERIMENT [Insert lame and beat-to-death Chuck Norris joke here] have not made an awful retro rock; they just have not made a very memorable or exciting one.

It would not be out of line to use GLUECIFER and the HELLACOPTERS as points of comparison, provided one is not trying to say that THE CHUCK NORRIS EXPERIMENT is on the same songwriting level. There are several fun, but bland, and fairly rockin' tunes here. And in fairness, nothing reaches the depths of suckdom. I can hear a little PAUL STANLEY in Chuck Ransom's lead vocals (oh by the way, everyone in the band goes by "Chuck", just no Chuck Norris). You can hear it as soon as the singing starts on album-opener "Senorita (Lookout)", one of the album's best tracks with effective call-and-response backing vocals. "Little Demon" boasts riffs and grooves that are somewhat reminiscent of KISS (circa '74), and even include a little Ace Frehley-style soloing. The most distinguishing part of the ho-hum "Radioshadow" is the fact that it ends up running over seven minutes, but only because the basic riff and beat repeats for several minutes after the main arrangement ends (albeit with some guitar solo action that basically mimics the groove). "Speedfever", "Caped Crusader", "Reason for my Bad", and "Go Heavy (on the Honey)" fall into the "eh, not bad" category. "Dinosaur Fire", "I'm the Law", and U.S. bonus track "Ugly Motherfucker Looking Just Like You" have a little more appeal, based on the up-tempo, punky boisterousness.

I doubt most folks (myself included) would listen in disgust at this self-titled debut, as there is nothing glaringly wrong with it. There is nothing very passionate or moving about it either. Hence, the middling rating.


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