"some music was meant to stay underground..."

70000 Tons of Metal - The World's Biggest Heavy Metal Cruise

Gentlemans Pistols - "At Her Majesty's Pleasure" (CD)

Gentlemans Pistols - "At Her Majesty's Pleasure" CD cover image

"At Her Majesty's Pleasure" track listing:

1. Living In Sin Again (4:12)
2. Comfortably Crazy (3:38)
3. Midnight Crawler (5:27)
4. Some Girls Don't Know What's Good For Them (3:38)
5. Your Majesty (4:21)
6. Into The Haze (5:20)
7. I Wouldn't Let You (2:52)
8. The Ravisher (2:58)
9. Sherman Tank (2:29)
10. Peeping Tom (4:09)
11. Feed Me To The Lions (3:03)
12. Lethal Woman (5:55)

Reviewed by on July 20, 2011

"'At Her Majesty’s Pleasure' is the most fun a listener will have with any album all year."

Not all of rock and metal has to be brooding or stone-faced. Gentlemans Pistols lives by this philosophy on their raucous new album “At Her Majesty’s Pleasure.” The mid-to-late ‘70s was a high mark for hard rock/heavy metal, and this British foursome seems to agreed as far as their sound is concerned. The band has the swagger in the vocals, the twin lead guitar tangents, and a tight rhythm section to bring back a bit of old flavor without coming across as a retro act. “At Her Majesty’s Pleasure” is the most fun a listener will have with any album all year.

This album just oozes coolness; if The Fonz was around today, this would be the only thing playing on his iPod. There is blatant posturing and snarky attitude, but it’s part of the album’s charm. Having a good time, with several women by your side, seems to be the key message. The great thing is that the band doesn’t even have to try; it comes across naturally, and a lot of that has to do with the robust vocals of guitarist James Atkinson.

Speaking of guitars, they are the main reason to give “At Her Majesty’s Pleasure” a spin. Alongside Atkinson is Carcass/Firebird guitarist Bill Steer, and they both make sweet music together. The duo channels Thin Lizzy on “Living In Sin Again” and “Your Majesty,” trading off licks and engaging in classic duel leads. It’s hard to be excited anymore whenever a guitarist pulls out a solo or an epic harmony, but Steer and Atkinson are able to make something as traditional as those two things a joy to hear.

It’s not all about one guitar set piece after another, as anybody knows that a great album needs to have concise, gripping songs behind it. The blazing opening lead on “Living In Sin Again” leaves no doubt to the kind of quality Gentlemans Pistols has in store for everybody. The album finds its stride at the KISS-patterned “I Wouldn’t Let You” and doesn’t slow down from that point on. “Feed Me To The Lions” gets a lead break in with every band member, including the rhythm section, and transitions into the epic closer “Lethal Woman.”

While the album has plenty of quick, catchy numbers, a few bluesy jams are brought into the mix. “Midnight Crawler” has a hazy, doom aura that picks up halfway in, while acoustic guitars and funky bass lines lend a progressive style to “Into The Haze.” “Peeping Tom” is the lone blight on “At Her Majesty’s Pleasure,” but that is due more to its placement - being right near the end after a series of excellent tracks - than its structure or sound.

After so many dark and foreboding albums thrown in my direction, it’s great to hear something upbeat and full of positive energy. “At Her Majesty’s Pleasure” has the kind of wide appeal that can range from a kid getting into rock and metal for the first time to an older music fan who has worn out their “Destroyer” and “Jailbreak” records. There are very few rock bands today worth getting up-in-arms about, but Gentlemans Pistols is the diamond in the sea of crap better known as mainstream rock.

Highs: A throwback to the days of Thin Lizzy and KISS, Carcass/Firebird guitarist Bill Steer gels well with James Atkinson, an exciting record that avoids feeling retro or dated

Lows: The longer songs don't have as much energy as their shorter counterparts.

Bottom line: An electrifying hard rock record full of dueling twin leads and a sound with widespread appeal across all age groups.

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)