American rockers Every Mother’s Nightmare (EMN, a 5 piece rock band from Memphis, Tennessee, are back with their first full length album in 15 years! And it’s a bit of a scorcher!
Back in the 90s I had their debut and self entitled album ‘Every Mother’s Nightmare’ and their sophomore album ‘Wake up Screaming’ on cassette; and I loved them! I played them until I wore out the cassette tapes. Back then they were signed to Arista Records and seemed to have a bright future ahead of them. I recall someone once claiming that they thought EMN were a poor man’s Motley Crue; but I loved them nonetheless. They had a fair amount of exposure on MTV but when the alternative rock scene hit during the 90s, EMN seemed to slip into the shadows.
Fast forward 15 years and Rick Ruhl (vocals and only remaining original member) has a new line up and a new album due for release on 6th October 2017 on their new label HighVolMusic. ‘Grind’ was originally a self funded 5 track EP that evolved into an 11 track album of the same name. It contains the 5 original EP tracks, 3 new songs (all of which were produced by Justin Rimes at Cross Trax Studios), and 3 live tracks that were recorded during a show at Minglewood Hall Memphis, TN in August 2016. It also contains guitar guest appearances from Zach Myers (Shinedown) and Wayne Swinny (Saliva); and a vocal guest appearance from Jim Dandy (The Jim Dandy).
The album kicks off with ‘Loco Crazy’ and straight away I can feel myself drifting back to the 90s. The chorus is catchy, the rhythm is heavy, and the track is full of the same distinct vocals from Rick Ruhl that I loved back then (his voice hasn’t changed at all!) and the energy from the beginning has me hopeful for the album. Shinedown’s Zach Myers puts in a guest appearance on this track which only adds to the incendiary guitar riffs that seem to saturate this track. Ruhl sings ‘We find ourselves on the firing line’ and I guess that’s what EMN have done, put themselves back in the firing line of the music industry hoping that they’re not going to catch a stray bullet this time, they must be ‘Loco Crazy’ to take another shot at it, let’s hope it pays off.
Next up is ‘Snake’ which features a guest appearance from Saliva’s Wayne Swinny. Love the intro to this song and the blistering guitar solo at 2:10 really ignites the track. The rhythm section really builds the song to the chorus then allows the guitars to take it away; then another solo at the end brings the track to a stop. This track would be awesome live! ‘Upper Hand’ begins with a heavy bass solo, a kick of the drums and the spoken words ‘Good Morning congregation! Nice to see you here on a Sunday morning’. This track is groove laden and heavy on the bass which is just what I'd expect from EMN.
‘Blown Away’ is up next and it’s honestly my favourite track on the album. It’s really mellow with a soothing melody and cool guitar riffs that just make me want to put my feet up and chill out. It’s a cruising in my car track with the music blasting while the sun beats down kind of track. ‘Sacred Circle’ is probably the track that really defines what EMN is about. It’s full of great hooks and rhythm. I would say it’s the strongest track on the album for reeling you into the chorus and getting you to sing along.
‘Days are Through’ has a very southern country rock feel to it and again it makes me feel totally relaxed and chilled out. ‘Keep holding on til my days are through’ resonates through my head as I listen to Rick Ruhl sing out those lyrics over and over, like a mantra ‘Lord I keep pushing on; Lord I keep working on; I keep holding on til my days are through’. The beat is relaxed yet enticing, the riffs are mellow yet keep me engaged throughout, and the lyrics are full of meaning about continuing to push on, keep working at what you want, keep going no matter what.
‘Stand Up’ takes us back into slightly heavier bass and drums than the previous tracks with some grittier vocals courtesy of Jim Dandy. ‘Swing Again’ throws us a barrage of heavy machine gun drums and huge guitar riffs that really deserve maximum volume. If these boys are really ‘Up to swing again’ then I pity anyone who stands in their way!
‘Closet Down the Hall’ takes us into the first of the three live tracks recorded at Minglewood Hall, Memphis which were produced by David Cowell at Cleaved Owl Productions and mastered by Brad Blackwood at Euphoric Masters. Originally released on the 1993 sophomore album ‘Wake up Screaming’ this track makes a great addition to the album by taking us back to what made EMN great in the first place. Old school rock at its best! ‘Walls Come Down’, taken from the debut album ‘Every Mother’s Nightmare’ really hits hard with booming drums and catchy beats, just as it did back in the 90s when it aired quite extensively on MTV. Lastly is ‘Push’ which really rocks the end of the album. It’s energetic and fast, the drums rumbling and the bass booming while the guitars propel the track along with some searing riffs that really bring the album to a satisfying close. But I don’t actually want to stop listening.
‘Grind’ really is an album that has a mix of it all, new and old, fast and slow, heavy and mellow, and as a fan of the band when they started back in the 90s I can quite honestly say that EMN has reignited my love for their music. Only one thing remains to be said, when is the next album out guys?