Alcatrazz: V-2021.

On December 4th, 2020, it was reported that, following conflicts regarding the band’s management, Alcatrazz had parted ways with Graham Bonnet and Doogie White would be replacing him. Within hours after this announcement, Bonnet claimed on his Facebook page that he would “still be recording and performing with Alcatrazz” with a new lineup that is to be announced in the spring of 2021.

Gary Shea
Bass (1983-1987, 2020-?)
See also: New England, ex-Vinnie Vincent Invasion
Jimmy Waldo
Keyboards (1983-1987, 2019-?)
See also: ex-Blackthorne, New England, ex-Graham Bonnet Band, ex-Murderer’s Row, ex-Spirit Nation, ex-Vinnie Vincent Invasion, ex-Waterbone
Mark Benquechea
Drums (2019-?)
See also: ex-B.O.W.A., ex-Devilution, ex-Graham Bonnet Band, ex-Sin
Joe Stump
Guitars (2019-?)
See also: HolyHellJoe StumpRaven LordShooting Hemlock, ex-The Reign of Terror, ex-Exorcism, ex-Tower of Babel, ex-Trash Broadway
Doogie White
Vocals (2020-?)
See also: EmpireLong Shadows DawnMichael Schenker FestMichael Schenker’s Temple of Rock, ex-Cornerstone, La Paz, Michael Schenker Group, ex-John Steel, ex-Pink Cream 69, ex-Rainbow, ex-Tank, ex-Yngwie Malmsteen, ex-Balance of Power, ex-Chain, ex-Demon’s Eye, ex-Midnight Blue, ex-Nikolo Kotzev’s Nostradamus, ex-Praying Mantis

Former Rainbow and Michael Schenker Group vocalist Graham Bonnet formed the band in 1983 in Los Angeles. He was accompanied at first by Shrapnel Records owner Mike Varney’s Swedish protégé Yngwie Malmsteen, after his departure from Ron Keel’s Steeler. Both teamed up with New England’s bassist Gary Shea and keyboard player Jimmy Waldo, along with Alice Coopers drummer Jan Uvena. This line-up recorded the debut No Parole From Rock ‘N’ Roll during 1983, scoring success in Europe and Japan in particular. The following album was recorded live at the Nakano Sun Plaza on January 28th, 1984 and was entitled Live Sentence.

Malmsteen parted ways with the band in bitter circumstances in 1984 to pursue a solo career, and was replaced by former Frank Zappa guitarist Steve Vai, who took guitar duties on the band’s second album Disturbing the Peace, which was released through Capitol Records after Rocshire Records collapsed.

Discography:

No Parole from Rock ‘n’ RollFull-length1983
Live Sentence – No Parole from Rock ‘n’ RollLive album1984
Island in the SunSingle1984 
Metallic Live ’84Video1984 
Will You Be Home TonightSingle1985 
Disturbing the PeaceFull-length1985
God Blessed Video / Wire and WoodSingle1985 
Power Live ’85Video1985 
Dangerous GamesSingle1986 
It’s My LifeSingle1986 
UndercoverSingle1986 
Dangerous GamesFull-length1986
Live SentenceLive album1992
The Best of AlcatrazzCompilation1998 
Live ’83Live album2010 
The Ultimate Fortress Rock SetBoxed set2016 
Breaking the Heart of the City – The Very Best of Alcatrazz 1983-1986Boxed set2017 
Live In Japan 1984 (Complete Edition)Video2018 
The Official Bootleg Box Set 1983-1986 – Live Demos RehearsalsBoxed set2018 
Parole Denied – Tokyo 2017Live album2018 
Born InnocentFull-length2020
VFull-length2021

Past Members:

Clive BurrDrums (1983)
(R.I.P. 2013) See also: ex-Gogmagog, ex-Elixir, ex-Iron Maiden, ex-Trust, ex-Desperado, ex-Samson, ex-Clive Burr’s Escape, ex-Praying Mantis, ex-Stratus, ex-True Brits
Jan UvenaDrums (1983-1987)
See also: ex-Alice Cooper, ex-Iron Butterfly, ex-Jonas Hansson Band, ex-Signal
Yngwie MalmsteenGuitars (1983-1984)
See also: Yngwie Malmsteen, ex-Hear ‘n Aid, Generation Axe, ex-Steeler
Graham BonnetVocals (1983-1987, 2007-2014, 2019-2020)
See also: EZooGraham Bonnet BandLyrakaMichael Schenker Fest, ex-Blackthorne, Bonnet, Parga & Heavenstone, Taz Taylor Band (live), ex-Anthem, ex-Impellitteri, ex-Rainbow, ex-Forcefield (Gbr), ex-Michael Schenker Group, ex-Southern Comfort, ex-The Blue Sect, ex-The Graham Bonnet Set, ex-The Marbles, ex-The Party Boys
Steve VaiGuitars (1984-1986)
See also: Generation Axe, Steve Vai, ex-Ozzy Osbourne, ex-Yngwie Malmsteen (live), ex-777, ex-Axis, ex-Circus, ex-David Lee Roth, ex-Frank Zappa, ex-Morning Thunder, ex-Ravge, ex-The Classified, ex-The Ohio Express, ex-The Out Band, ex-Whitesnake, ex-G3 (live)
Danny JohnsonGuitars (1986-1987)
See also: ex-Alice Cooper, ex-Axis, ex-Derringer, ex-Private Life, ex-Steppenwolf
Tim LuceBass (2007-2014)
Glen SobelDrums (2007-2009)
See also: Alice Cooper, Hollywood Vampires (live), ex-Impellitteri, ex-Mötley Crüe (live), ex-Damir Simic Shime (live), ex-Sinister Sam, ex-Bang Tango, ex-Beautiful Creatures, ex-Bruce Bouillet, ex-Gary Hoey, ex-Jeff Scott Soto, ex-Jennifer Batten, ex-Saga, ex-Shark Island, ex-SX-10, ex-Sixx:A.M. (live)
Howie SimonGuitars (2007-2014)
See also: Stryper (live), Phil Soussan (live), Tesla (live), ex-Ice Water Mansion, ex-Talisman, ex-Jeff Scott Soto (live), ex-Nelson (live), ex-Tuff (live)
Dave DzialakDrums (2009-2010)
Jeff BowdersDrums (2010-2011)
See also: Taka Minamino, ex-Damir Simic Shime (live), ex-Nine Times Bodyweight, ex-Paul Gilbert, ex-G3 (live), ex-Paul Gilbert & Freddie Nelson (live)
Bobby RockDrums (2011-2014)
See also: Lita Ford, ex-Nitro, ex-Gary Hoey, ex-Hardline, ex-Nelson, ex-Rare Earth, ex-Skull (USA), ex-Vinnie Vincent Invasion, ex-Slaughter (live)
Beth-Ami HeavenstoneBass (2019-2020)
See also: Graham Bonnet Band, ex-Hardly Dangerous
Songs
1.Guardian Angel05:17  Show lyrics
2.Nightwatch04:51  Show lyrics
3.Sword of Deliverance03:38  Show lyrics
4.Turn of the Wheel05:25  Show lyrics
5.Blackheart05:18  Show lyrics
6.Grace of God05:08  Show lyrics
7.Return to Nevermore05:17  Show lyrics
8.Target04:44  Show lyrics
9.Maybe Tomorrow06:17  Show lyrics
10.House of Lies04:53  Show lyrics
11.Alice’s Eyes05:03  Show lyrics
12.Dark Day for My Soul06:28  Show lyrics
 01:02:19 

One thought on “Alcatrazz: V-2021.

  1. hells_unicorn, October 15th, 2021
    Written based on this version: 2021, CD, Silver Lining Music (Digipak)
    It seems as if only yesterday that the mighty, guitar-oriented 80s heavy metal train that was Alcatrazz had returned with a vengeance to usher in the 2020s with a newly minted masterpiece after more than 30 years of studio silence. Even during their original run in the aforementioned decade that would culminate in three highly credible studio LPs, there was a fair degree of lineup instability, with a de facto revolving door of guitarists that would see a different one contributing their technical wizardry to each album. While opinions will continue to vary as to whether this fold’s strength laid primarily with front man and former Rainbow vocalist Graham Bonnet or original six-string shredder and Neo-classical metal trailblazer Yngwie Malmsteen, the general consensus has been that their combined efforts had a massive hand in the band’s 1983 debut No Parole For Rock ‘N’ Roll being their most iconic effort, and it was the magic of that particular incarnation of the band that was sought after and successfully recaptured on 2020’s Born Innocent.

    All of this considered, the prospect of this grand resurgence continuing with neither Malmsteen nor Bonnet involved would seem highly improbable, but the latter’s recent separation from the group has brought an interesting twist on things fairly similar to where Bonnet’s former outfit Rainbow found themselves in the mid-90s. The tapping of scene veteran Doogie White to take over mic duties is almost too fitting, given his past collaborations with both Rainbow on 1995’s Stranger In Us All and a subsequent stint with Malmsteen’s solo act in the early to mid 2000s, to speak nothing for his soaring pipes functioning as a near perfect amalgam of his predecessor in this fold and other former Rainbow front man Ronnie James Dio. Combined with the return of Malmsteen-like shred protégé Joe Stump and the rest of the instrumentalists that made Born Innocent a near perfect return to the glories of 1983, it stands to reason that their latest studio installment, simply dubbed V, would hit the waves with a fair amount of wind already in its proverbial sails.

    While the old saying of Ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus that one cannot step on the same river twice ultimately rings true here, this album basically gets as close to accomplishing that as one could expect given the circumstances. The combination of highly technical guitar wizardry with a mixture of 70s hard rock and 80s heavy metal stylistic trappings that this band had originally imported from Rainbow, Deep Purple, and Judas Priest that typified the last album is not diminished here to any degree. In fact, the pacing of this collection of shred-happy anthems is a bit swifter, having a bit more of a power metal edge to it. High octane speeders such as “Guardian Angel”, “Nightwatch” and “Turn Of The Wheel” establish this album as a frenetic affair reminiscent of Malmsteen’s faster offerings during the late 80s and early 90s from the beginning, with Stump’s precision riffing and virtuosic guitar soloing being the highlight. Later on in the mix the driving force of “Target” and “Alice’s Eyes” maintains the up tempo factor while also venturing into darker and heavier territory where the work of the rhythm section and keyboardist/co-founder Jimmy Waldo become even more prominent.

    By the same token, the more groove-based rocking with a heavy edge that has been as much of a staple of this band’s sound as their speedier material is equally as prominent here. Mid-paced rockers with a clear affinity for the older stylings of Deep Purple such as “Sword Of Deliverance” and “House Of Lies” bring the hooks home with the best of them, and also prove a tad bit more conducive to Doogie’s slightly gritty but mostly polished sounding vocal display. A dash of progressive rock adorns the shuffling swagger of “Blackheart”, which also sees Waldo’s rock organ work mimicking the vintage goodness of Jon Lord (R.I.P.), while the upbeat cruiser “Grace Of God” has a decidedly European power metal flavor to it that wouldn’t be totally out of place on one of Stratovarius’ recent albums. But the two greatest standouts of the slower end of this album is the mystical melodies and crushing grooves of “Return To Neverland”, which sounds pretty close to Rainbow’s “Stargazer”, and the early 80s Sabbath-inspired epic march of “Maybe Tomorrow”.

    Perhaps the most challenging aspect of this album, or at least what may prove the most challenging Alcatrazz’s existing fan base, is the drama that immediately preceded it and the resulting absence of its original vocalist. Taken on its own merits apart from the band’s established brand, this is a slightly more vintage hard rock take on what Malmsteen has been bringing to the table since 1986 meets a more metallic rendition of Rainbow’s classic late 70s sound, and in this disposition Doogie White’s vocals about as well as Bonnet’s. It’s almost impossible to see any reason other than disappointment over the original singer not being present as a reason for dismissing these 12 well put together songs. Nevertheless, if Bonnet’s own published words earlier are any indication, there might be multiple incarnations of this band simultaneously putting out music in a fashion similar to NWOBHM outfit Tank, though absent him managing to rope Malmsteen or a similarly skilled guitarist into his version of the band, it’ll be tough to see how he’ll manage to top this.

    Originally written for Sonic Perspectives (www.sonicperspectives.com)

    Like

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