Thin Lizzy - 1981 Renegade
ARTIST: Thin Lizzy
SERIAL: 6359 083
CD REISSUE: 1990, Vertigo, 842 435-2 * 2001, Wounded Bird, WOU 3622
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
LINEUP: Phil Lynott - vocals, bass * Scott Gorham - guitars * Snowy White - guitars * Darren Wharton - keyboards * Brian Downey - drums
TRACK LISTING: 01 Angel Of Death * 02 Renegade * 03 The Pressure Will Blow * 04 Leave This Town * 05 Hollywood * 06 No One Told Him * 07 Fats * 08 Mexican Blood * 09 It's Getting Dangerous
BackgroundTypically one of Thin Lizzy's greatest efforts was also one of their poorest sellers and overlooked by many due to its low chart placing of 38 in the UK. Quite how Lizzy had fallen so drastically in such a short time is open to question, but the rampant NWOBHM and Lynott's drug use were perhaps contributing aspects. Lynott had recorded a solo album 'Solo In Soho' a year earlier which displayed a far more diverse direction than Lizzy's brand of hard rock, which was captured to good effect on that same years 'Chinatown'. With all this activity it's hard to blame Lynott for succumbing to inner forces but contrary to most reports 'Renegade' proved he hadn't lost an ounce of his touch.
The SongsOver the years many have complained Lizzy had lost their early heaviness by 'Renegade', and while there are the usual softer touches there were still enough heavy metal dynamics in place to ridicule that conception. 'Angel Of Death' is a contender to Iron Maiden's and Saxon's brand of galloping metal, with a surging riff throughout and Wharton's marvellously atmospheric keyboard use that adds a haunting edge. One of Lynott's defining moments is the title track, a lyrical classic about a young rebel with the trademark Lizzy guitar harmonies that add up to a timeless anthem. For those unsure as to why Lynott is held in such high status then this is a convincing reason why, poignant and melodic at once. 'The Pressure Will Blow' is another heavy Lizzy standard, usurped by the driving near boogie of 'Leave This Town' which paces forth with energy that supposedly did not exist here. This blows away much of the 70's material, seemingly more direct and addictive. Heavy again is 'Hollywood (Down On Your Luck)' with its melodic chorus balanced by crashing riffs, a nice bridge between metal and AOR. There's nothing light about 'No One Told Him' either, but 'Fats' is a descendant of the 'Black Rose' era, leaning more towards the pop of Lynott's solo work also, with finger snapping and piano use dominant. A suitably Mexican flavour pervades 'Mexican Blood' with Wharton dominating the track, again not overly heavy but still Lizzy obviously, with Lynott's storytelling the highlight. Rightfully 'It's Getting Dangerous' ends proceedings in a flurry of swirling guitars and more synthesizer use, which did not alter Lizzy's approach to songwriting, their copyrighted guitar work always the link to the past.
In SummaryTwo less heavier tracks on an entire album does not qualify this as 'less aggressive' and perhaps some of the more opinionated critics of 'Renegade' should consider re evaluating their thoughts on this easy classic. Weak chart and sales activity has never equalled poor music and Lizzy were simply in a period of flux as the scene changed around them. When they released 'Thunder And Lightning' two years later it was declared rightfully one of their best only that albums success was in part to the announcement Lizzy were splitting. If they hadn't would people have deemed it a flop also? 'Renegade' is very much Lizzy at their best, and a fitting tribute to the legend of Phil Lynott.
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dangerzone July 21 2006 2611 reads 2 comments Print