Not that the plethora of throwback retro-thrash bands wasn’t evidence enough, but the 80’s happened. Fashion was horrendous and hairstyles were worse. Nintendo had kids blowing into their cartridges the world over. And on MTV, for every Iron Maiden and Metallica video that was played, there was a gaggle of hair bands saturating the airwaves to the point of ozone layer depletion from all that Aqua Net used. White Lion was one of those bands, enjoying success after success until Kurt Cobain came along and ruined everything for them. Thankfully, times haven’t changed much since the halcyon days of spandex and pink guitars. Fashion and hairstyles are still atrocious. Man is still killing man and the most popular guy in White Lion, who is unfortunately not guitarist Vito Bratta, has a new album coming out. Yes, little child, dry your cryin’ eyes, because Mike Tramp has thrown down Nomad, showing the world that he’s ready to rise again, little fighter that he is, and it’s not good. Oh dear god, it is so not good.
Things begin on an awkward foot when “Give It All You Got” starts playing. Immediately, I’m hearing Tom Petty‘s “I Won’t Back Down” with Tramp yarling over it. Not singing… yarling. Somehow, in the last twenty years, Mike went from singing to becoming the frontman for Lifehouse. His accent hasn’t diminished too much in his years living in Australia and the United States, so for Mike to be singing a country rock tune is a bit off. Further exacerbating the experience are the lyrics, which are as cliché-addled as they get. (“Have you ever had someone you trusted/stab you in the back?”) No, Mike, that’s never happened to everyone in the entire world.
The scary part is that song is probably the best tune on all of Nomad. “High Like a Mountain” requires you to be in a similar state to listen and not laugh hysterically, featuring a very bizarre spoken word piece halfway in where Tramp gives an anti-drug monologue with a fake Texas accent. “No More,” the song which summed up how I felt listening to this album, is actually a very uplifting tune about how the world’s gotten horrible, and has the stirring verse “So if you see me jump off a bridge, don’t worry about me, I’ll be okay (I’m okay, I’m okay).” Not since Hootie & The Blowfish has an uplifting song made me want to not only eat a gun, but also crank some Funeral to help cheer me up. The rest is either soft rock throbbing with bad lyrics (“Bow And Obey”), or country balladry with bad lyrics (“Live To Tell,” “Moving On”).
And I just know someone will call me out for reviewing this, knowing my tastes. That said, Europe‘s “The Final Countdown” was my gateway into metal. After a bit of Jameson, I’ve been known to belt out this song while karate-chopping myself in the throat for added vibrato. And yes, “When the Children Cry” does have a soft spot in my blackened heart, hokey lyrics and all [Leave the hall. – Steel Hall Monitor]. This is just a very flat “hard rock” album that’s actually more like adult contemporary music, which itself went stale a decade ago. The punchless production didn’t help matters any either.
When I was given this album to review, I admit I didn’t have the greatest of expectations. Even then, Nomad tripped and fell flat on its face, not even clearing the ankle-height bar set for it, and if anything, I feel sad having listened to it. “No More,” indeed [Wait…wait! You never had a chance to love this! – Steel Druhm].