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Johnny O'Neil

Truth or Dare

Review by Gary Hill

This is a strong album. Not everything here fits tightly under heavy metal, but I think enough of it does to land this under that heading. Mind you, we're talking old school heavy metal here, not the modern stuff. Whether you agree with that classification or not, you should find plenty to like here if you enjoy hard rock. There is a real classic sound on display but informed with modern things, too. There are some cuts that stand particularly tall, but nothing here is weak.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2021  Volume 4. More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2021.

Track by Track Review
Snake In the Grass
The riff that opens this has a killer metal groove to it. This is hard-edged rock and roll that really does quality as metal. The vocals make me think of Axl Rose to some degree. This is a meaty and classy tune.
Comin’ for You
The riff that brings this into being has a bit of a Motörhead meets glam metal feel to it. Some technical riffing is heard as the tune continues. As it works to the song proper that 80s hair metal aspect seems in the driver's seat. This has catchy hooks and some meat on its bones. There is plenty of hard-edged rock and roll here, too.
Tell Me What You Think You Know
The riff driving this is mean and metallic. The vocals again make me think of Guns N' Roses, and really the whole tune does.
Down and Round
Less metal, this is more mean rock and roll with a definite punk DIY edge. The chorus on this has some intriguing changes and hooks. This is solid, but not at the same level as the tunes that preceded it.
Ode to Mark
This is a guitar showcase instrumental piece. It's not metal, but it is compelling and dynamic. It's a great bit of variety.
Temple
Here we get some more variety. There is a lot of progressive rock and classic sound in the mix here. The keyboards are a nice touch, yet there is also some killer riffing. This is more of a melodic rocker, and it's also very strong. There are some harder rocking movements later and the guitar solo makes me think of Jimmy Page to some degree. This song is one of my favorites here.
Red Suns in the Sky
The riff that opens this brings us back into decided heavy metal territory. I love the almost epic metal hooks on this song. The whole tune rocks with so much style and charm.
Revolution
Here we get a rendition of the Beatles tune. I like this quite a bit. It's a bit stripped back. It has a classy acoustic rocking texture to it early, but then it powers out to a screaming hot take on the tune. It feels a bit like what you might get if Guns N' Roses did the song.
World Run Amuck
We're back into screaming heavy metal zones here. The guitar soloing on this instrumental is so powerful. All the interplay is on fire. This is one of the strongest cuts here, making it a great choice for closing shot.
 
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