THE UNRIPES – This Is Not America (2012)
Born as a ‘one-night-only band’ in the middle of 2005 in Modena, Italy, THE UNRIPES is still alive and those one time kids are releasing their 1st album; “This Is Not America”.
Self defined as Sleaze-Core Metal (!), in fact The Unripes have developed a really interesting style crossing anthemic Hard Rock, some modern Swedish sleaze and a bit of metal.
There’s nothing of ‘core’ or post punk in their style, but a polished and sonically innovative sound that could recall the new wave started by modern melodic hard rockers Blessed By A Broken Heart or Hardcore Superstar.
At the same time we found traces of late eighties Motley Crue, Steel Panther, Skid Row and Reckless Love in the band’s song structures, but all cooked in a very original way.
The first thing that surprise you listening “This Is Not America” is the impeccable production handled by guitarist Mike ‘Mike P.’ Pelillo : crystal clear, powerful and up to date. It’s modern but somehow ‘classic’, really panned and stereo defined.
After the first minute you take note of a solid musicianship with pulsating energy. All members, although young, certainly aren’t newbies in the business: vocalist AxiA has toured all over Europe and Japan with the DNR , bassist Uncle Sappa also plays in Midnite Sun and Sutuana, while the drummer under the pseudonym ‘Sevens’ is no other than Luke Setti of hard rockers Trick Or Treat.
And then, while opener “Track No 1” is reaching its climax you get clear that apart of having an eye put in modernity, The Unripes have grew up listening and learning to perfection all the elements from the classic ’80s American hard rock / hair metal.
The track has some crazy-broken modern beats, but the riff, the guitar solo, the arrangements and the monster gang vocals explode into a killer catchy chorus. All extremely polished and really well crafted. Impressive.
From the start, next track “Reload” shows that all the details in the production department have been oiled meticulously. It’s a muscular, modern sleaze simple track, but ridiculously contagious.
“Get On This Rollercoaster” accentuates the modern approach with synths into the mix, yet a song with this title makes you think in L.A., and you’re right. ‘This is Not America’ is the title of this album? Well, seems it is a joke from the band. Killer track.
The midtempo “You Are The One” follows in a more melodic vein with a perfect refrain and an enviable musicality. Clean guitars blended with thumping drumming creates a solid atmosphere in a track that Reckless Love would have killed to write.
Let’s get a hot guitar riff for the next song: “Until The Day I Die” combines the excess of Steel Panther with the modernism of Blessed By A Broken Heart with mix tricks, and all works like a charm.
“My Muse Is Called Rock’n’Roll” continues in the same vein yet more melodic and anthemic where the first Wig Wam comes to mind, and then “Damned Electric” starts ‘electronic’ but develops into a sonically super-compressed rocker with gang vocals all over the place. I really, really like this!
The band surprise again with “Scream If You Wanna Go Faster”… what? a Geri Halliwell (ex- Spice Girls) cover?. Shaped with The Unripes sonic recipe it works. Crazy.
For the end, they shock once more. It shouldn’t be that strange, but coming form a super-modern band like this, “The Star Beyond This Wall” is driven by nylon-guitars, regular rhythm section (not over processed like before) and even adds harmonica in the middle. Anyway, this great tune has an aura of extremely polished production like the rest of the disc, just more ‘organic’. A fantastic melodic track with some winks to Skid Row and Steve Stevens solo work.
I am in love with “This Is Not America”.
This was a year with many musical surprises, but The Unripes are the final touché, the icing on the cake.
The band is what Melodic Hard Rock, Hard, Modern Hard Rock, call it what you want – even Sleaze-Core Metal as they like – needed for its renovation.
Everything here is fresh, original, full of ideas. I bet the production budget was a regular one (they’re in the small but increasingly interesting Street Symphonies label) but in the end what it counts is when you have imagination to produce something new, innovative.
And the The Unripes has the talent and the magic touch.
In my year’s list, this is the Best New Talent award.
01 – Track Nº1
02 – Reload
03 – Get On This Rollercoaster
04 – You Are The One
05 – Until The Day I Die
06 – My Muse Is Called Rock’n’Roll
07 – Damned Electric
08 – Scream If You Wanna Go Faster
09 – The Star Beyond This Wall
AxiA – lead vocals
Mike ‘Mike P.’ Pelillo – guitar, backin’ vocals
Uncle Sappa – bass, backin’ vocals
Sevens – drums, backin’ vocals
BUY IT !