AMERICAN MAFIA – Made In New York (2018)
AMERICAN MAFIA has a long backstory starting in the ’80s under the name Holy Water. Forward to 2018, Thomas Jude (guitar) and Freddy Villano (bass) along with vocalist Don Chaffin and drummer Bobby Marks, are back with this “Made In New York“, their first work for Lions Pride Music.
American Mafia is the brainchild of guitarist Thom Jude (Doro Pesch Band) and bass player Freddy Villano (Quiet Riot, Widowmaker). They say that necessity is the mother of invention. Well, American Mafia was born out such necessity.
Some time ago, Jude / Villano’s band Holy Water released ‘The Collected Sessions’, placing their previously unreleased but much sought after music into a legitimate CD. Those were an awesome collection of Melodic Hard Rock songs recorded by the group in the ’80s / ’90s.
‘The Collected Sessions’ was originally supposed to be a teaser while Holy Water got busy recording a new album featuring many of the songs they’d written over the years.
But when original Holy Water vocalist David Knight sadly committed suicide in early 2014, Jude & Villano were faced with a dilemma: abandon the band due to the seemingly insurmountable obstacle of replacing Knight, or forge ahead.
The duo opted to move forward and ‘The Collected Sessions’ became Holy Water’s swan song, rather than teaser.
In Knight’s absence, both decided to ditch the Holy Water moniker, and re-name the band as American Mafia.
American Mafia’s debut titled ‘Rock N’ Roll Hit Machine’ featured guest vocalists to replace David Knight. One of them was singer Don Chaffin (Vox / Red Lamb) on a couple of songs, and now Chaffin has become the band’s official frontman. The guy has a classic, tenor bluesy hard rock set of pipes with perfectly fits American Mafia style.
The current line-up of the band is completed by experienced drummer Bobby Marks (Keel, Arabia, Steeler, et all).
What can we say? American Mafia plays classic hard rock, and I mean ’80s/90s style & sound.
“Made In New York” is a flawless record of classic rock perfection full of groove and bluesy style and adorned by the commanding vocals of Chaffin.
If you love the classy sounds of Aerosmith and latter day hard rockers like Tesla or Great White then you’ll love what’s on offer here.
Opening with the confident midtempo slow burn of ‘Superstar’ you’re immediately reminded of Sacramento’s finest – Tesla – in the effortless dynamics and drive, before ‘Gistified’ (no idea what it means) adds a dirtier shuffling groove in the vein of bands of yesteryear like Salty Dog.
‘Ride on Through’ backs that up with an even heavier, livelier feeling that even has feint echoes of Great White at their ’80s heights, though thoroughly smoothed out, of course.
‘Lead The Way’ mix Kingdom Come & Tesla into a bluesy hard rock ballad that stretches out to seven minutes and is a thing of beauty, and then ‘When London Sleeps’ is the most melodic hard rock offering here, chock full of harmony and riding a wonderful groove. It may even be the best song on the album, but that’s an accusation you could lay on every song here.
‘Death & Satisfaction’ has a classic Aerosmith imprint all over, while the moody ‘Friendly Fire’ is a great midtempo that grows in intensity bringing to mind Doug Aldrich’s Burning Rain, even Fastway.
There’s also two songs featuring late singer Dave Knight; one is a cover of Stevie Wonder’s ‘Living For The City’ which sounds as if the mid-seventies Foreigner had put their teeth into it. A total ripper.
American Mafia brings back that classy ’80s bluesy hard rock not only in style, but also in sound. These guys nail every aspect of this genre, simply because the have played it and lived it during the ’80s.
With a title that is some kind of statement, “Made In New York” is a solid proof that classic hard rock is still alive & kickin’ in the US, and American Mafia one of the best exponents.
01 – Superstar
02 – Gistified
03 – Ride On Through
04 – Lead the Way
05 – When London Sleeps
06 – Death & Satisfaction
07 – Friendly Fire
08 – Living for the City (feat David Knight)
09 – All I Need (feat David Knight)
Don Chaffin – vocals
Thomas Jude – guitar
Freddy Villano – bass
Bobby Marks – drums
BUY IT !