L.A. Guns carry the distinction of being a survivor of the Sunset Strip era, coming to prominence during the MTV generation. Over the years and decades they’ve released new material with various lineups, touring consistently. Though many of their counterparts faded away, they rejuvenated their sound with returning guitarist Tracii Guns on 2017’s The Missing Peace, experimenting with heavier and different sounds. This year’s release, The Devil You Know is the next dose of fresh blood, from the electric gypsies continuing the trend of refreshed energy and experimentation.
Vocalist Phil Lewis still howls and screams like a fire-dancing banshee, especially on Going High, while hanging out in a bewitching graveyard in the title track’s video. Delivering a healthy amount of ‘70s influence, sometimes you’d think Sabbath and Zeppelin were in the room guiding hands. The Devil You Know finds a new fountain of inspiration and musical youth with barrels still smoking.
There’s no resting on nostalgia as they continue recording and touring for the love and fun of the game.
Lewis shrieks out on opener Rage with its grungy, dirty, garage rock vibe as Stay Away is a tooth spit see-ya love letter/restraining order to their favorite stalker, harasser and dangerous admirer.
Guitar notes spray red on Loaded Bomb like approaching police sirens to a scene of god knows what. It’s a spell-casting drama of bayou conscious notes like Zeppelin meeting Hendrix.
The Devil You Know has everything for the nocturnal practitioner with its voodoo magic, ‘70s cult vibe as strings slither like a pitchfork tongue poking the serpent. Dirty and sleazy heavy riffs churn out, manipulating emotions.
“Going High” has groovy riffs accompanied by Lewis’s high pitched throat-rippers to the heavens, where “Boom” brings Lemmy back from the eternal, immortal stage for one last extra jam.
L.A. Guns is a name cemented into the very pavement of the Strip. The Devil You Know is a reminder of where they came from and where they are now.
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