Phil Campbell – Old Lions Still Roar
Released: 25th October, 2019
Phil Campbell lineup:
Phil Campbell | Guitar
They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but you certainly can get an old dog and a few of his friends to show us how many tricks they still have up their sleeves. Enter Phil Campbell – guitar hero, member of Motörhead for over 30 years and father of the Bastard Sons. Now Phil’s gone solo, he’s invited a few friends along to help him out. Just looking down the list of artists and what you see is a who’s who of rock and metal.
You’re eased into the album with an acoustic retrospective piece featuring vocals Leon Stanford, of Cardiff alt-rock band The Poet The People. To be honest he’s the perfect choice: bluesy, soulful, a hint of country and dripping with raw emotion. I defy anyone not to feel a pang of sadness as the lyrics call out to play just one more time with best friend and bandmate, Lemmy. Phil Campbell’s storytelling ability is showcased brilliantly on ‘Rocking Chair’. Sometimes the gentlest songs hit you the hardest and this one is like a gut-punch from iron fist wrapped in a velvet glove.
But if you thought Campbell was going to take the gentle road on this album, you’d be mistaken. The second track is a straight up down-and-dirty-rocker featuring The Metal God himself, Rob Halford. ‘Straight Up’ is reminiscent of early Judas Priest, a balls-to-the-wall rocker with a bluesy edge. Suffice to say Halford absolutely fucking nails it!
There’s so much going on in this album it’s hard to resist reviewing it track by track – because believe me if I didn’t have a deadline I’d write a book on Old Lions Still Roar… alright, maybe not a book but words. Many, many words.
Campbell wrote each song with certain musicians in mind so it no surprise each track showcases the guests involved. Orange Goblin frontman Ben Ward brings gruff vocals to the dirty, blues infused foot-stomper ‘Faith In Fire’. If you’re anything like me, you’ll be nodding along to the relentless groove.
The same can be said for the next track, performed by the Godfather of shock rock, old blackeyes himself, Alice Cooper. I’m in no doubt this song was written for him: dirty, gritty 100% Cooper. Honestly, Alice could drop this onto any of his albums and it wouldn’t be out of place, a testament to Campbell’s song writing ability.
After hearing ‘These Old Boots’ if I was going to put together a super-group it would consist of Phil Campbell, Dee Snider, Mick Mars, Todd Campbell and Chris Fehn. This is hard rock at its very best. Infectious riffs, thumping drums and added cowbell just for the hell of it. Snider delivers his vocals like he’s living the song, taking us back in time and hearing something completely new at the same time. If I was to try and pick a favourite song on this album this one would be very near the top of the list.
In short, Phil Campbell has assembled some of the best artists in rock and metal and delivered an emotional rollercoaster of beauty and brutality. He’s laid his soul bare and released a clearly personal album that will rock you to your core.
Phil Campbell – Old Lions Still Roar tracklisting:
- Rocking Chair
- Straight Up
- Faith In
- Swing It
- Left For Dead
- Walk The Talk
- These Old Boots
- Dancing Dogs (Love Survives)
- Dead Roses
- Tears From A Glass