||ANDI DERIS AND THE BAD BANKERS
'Million Dollar Haircuts On Ten Cent Heads'
Release Date: 22nd November 2013
Gary 'Rockulus' Clarke
In 1997 this consistent songwriter and lead vocalist released his debut solo album 'Come In From The Rain' and followed it up in 1999 with 'Done By Mirorrs'. You may be aware of him due to his talents with Pink Cream 69, or perhaps more recently as the vocalist that helms the good ship Helloween.
Since their 'Master Of The Rings' release to their latest power Metal extravaganza titled 'Straight Out Of Hell', the German rockin' machine has been relentless and now it seems suitable for Deris to unleash his third solo effort.
When you immediately inspect this new album, it becomes apparent that Deris is severely annoyed and angry with the banking system, and if you watch the news this isn't necessarily a surprise. He doesn't focus all of his angst merely on this subject matter as he tackles other threads of interest in the shape of the radio-related event of 1938 where people believed they were being attacked by aliens thanks to a radio drama based on 'The War Of The Worlds'; and another example of his deviations include his reflective thinking over what he himself has achieved and how he's become complacent, or the near-death experience of a friend who then grew from the experience and strived to be a better person.
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Starting the album with a real in-your-face Rocker called 'Cock' lets the listener know what is in store. Although reeling with discontent and loaded with expletives, it isn't representative of the whole album. Lyrically the album is philosophical in places as we delve into 'Will We Ever Change', then the course is diverted back to the mess that is the banking system 'Banker's Delight (Dead Or Alive)'. Musically, this isn't Helloween which is why this stands as a testimony to his solo output.
'Blind' starts with a slight melancholy vibe before outbursts of distorted guitar raise the punchier element of his band. The overall sound is grittier than the well produced Helloween releases and this works in the favour of this release. Following 'Blind' is my favourite moment of the album.
Highly infectious and with a hook that screams out to the sky above, 'Don't Listen To The Radio (TWOTW 1938)' kicks in with a dirty yet familiar riff. The song then soars with the chorus encapsulating all that is good with a hook of such immediacy.
'Who Am I' is the longest track on show, and is reflective and builds layer by layer musically. 'Must Be Dreaming' hints at his main band whilst 'The Last Days Of Rain' sounds controlled and restrained. Deris unleashes his wonderful voice on the chorus of both of these tracks. Another highlight arrives in the form of 'Enamoria' before 'This Could Go On Forever' and 'I Sing Myself Away' round off what is an interesting album.
This is certainly an album that doesn't belong with the Helloween back catalogue, and provides a stage for Deris to resurrect his solo career once more. Music is often deemed as a cathartic outlet for artists and within 'Million Dollar Haircuts On Ten Cent Heads', Deris exorcises some demons and stretches his musical muscles.
Whether it's anything more than just that; remains to be seen. Either way you look at this release, it's enjoyable but not a classic.
2. Will We Ever Change
3. Banker's Delight (Dead Or Alive)
5. Don't Listen To The Radio (TWOTW 1938)
6. Who Am I
7. Must Be Dreaming
8. The Last Days Of Rain
10. This Could Go On Forever
11. I Sing Myself Away
Andi Deris - Vocals & Guitars
Nico Martin – Guitars
Jezoar Marrero – Bass
Nasim López-Palacios - Drums