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Wednesday, March 22: Skid Row, “Psycho Love”

Slave to the Grind was more a triumph of sound than song: while the writing had certainly sharpened since Skid Row’s first album, neither Dave “the Snake” Sabo nor Rachel Bolan were truly capable of composing the genuinely gritty and grimy punk metal they aspired to.  But Michael Wagener’s redlined production more than made up for some of Bolan’s more preposterous lyrics, as well as the moments where Sabo’s riffing veered back towards hair metal, by focusing on the full fury of the band’s performance, especially the astounding pipes of the otherwise monumentally irritating Sebastian Bach.  “Psycho Love”, with its tale of a murderous prostitute, would’ve been laughed out of the room were it not for Bach’s incredible wail and unerring conviction. And Wagener’s mix beefed up Rob Affuso’s drumming along with Sabo’s and Scotti Hill’s crunchy guitars to brilliant effect, making “Psycho Love” a ridiculous but fun headbanger that allowed Skid Row to transcend the hair metal tag, even if not to the degree they were expecting.