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Rain - "XXX" (CD)

Rain - "XXX" CD cover image

"XXX" track listing:

1. Energy
2. Whiskey On The Route 666
3. Blood Sport
4. Rain Revolution
5. The Gate
6. Born To Kill
7. We Want Rock
8. In The Night
9. End Of Time
10. Only Your Dreams
11. Fight For The Power
12. Only For The Rain Crew
13. Rain Are Us

Reviewed by on November 4, 2011

"Whether they've heard the originals or not, Rain's 'XXX' is likely to arouse hard rock fans' attention."

If it's hard for you to tell whether the title "XXX" refers to dirty thoughts about the guitar-slingin' woman on the front cover, or the fact that this Italian band's been rocking for three decades, well, I'm pretty sure that's just what Rain had in mind.

Taking a page from acts like Kiss and Anthrax who have created albums full of new versions of old songs, Rain has recorded brand new — and sometimes quite different — versions of songs from their eight previous studio albums. "Rain Are Us," for example, was originally recorded for the band's 2008 album "Dad Is Dead" as a bit more of an anthem. Here, it's an acoustic ballad, and actually gains strength from the more quiet approach.

Still, the band's 1980s roots show through quite well. Singer Francesco Grandi still wails like David Lee Roth, and the riffs, particularly on "We Want Rock" and "Whiskey On The Route 666" are patented Sunset Strip struts. Harder-edged stuff like "Fight For The Power" flirts with Motorhead territory, while the shrieks of "Born To Kill" are of the vintage Priest variety.

Slightly more modern twists feel out of place on "Only Your Dreams," with its strangely flat drum sound, and the industrial-tinged "Blood Sport." Still, you've got to admire the band for thinking outside of the box.

Whether they've heard the originals or not, Rain's "XXX" is likely to arouse hard rock fans' attention.

Highs: "Rain Are Us," "Fight For The Power" and "Born To Kill."

Lows: More modern sounds feel out of place on "Only Your Dreams" and "Blood Sport."

Bottom line: A more than decent roundup of 30 years of the band's hard rock material.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 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)