When Phil Campbell promises something he usually comes good. After the death of Lemmy which ended the great Motorhead, Campbell lead guitarist of the band for 31 years wasn’t sure if he should continue in the music business. He was convinced to do so by his sons and started the band Phil Campbell and his Bastard Sons, as if to say, they had to be to get him back out on the road and into a studio.
In 1999 he promised that he would record a solo record, well it only took 20 years to make ‘Old Lions Still Roar’. The title was originally going to be a track from the Bastards album a few years back, but Campbell loving it, kept it aside and used it for this, his first ever solo record.
Before we start Campbell has loaded his début record with some of the greats of the rock/metal scene. Alice Cooper, Rob Halford, Matt Sorum, Joe Satriani, Benji Webbe and Danko Jones all make guest appearances.
Old Lions Still Roar kicks off with ‘Rocking Chair’, a surprising number from the ex- Motorhead axeman giving that it’s an acoustic number and it’s a good song, but it’s the next one ‘Straight Up’ with its crunching guitars that will feel more familiar territory for Campbell’s fans. The song is certainly rocking and is added by the presence of Judas Priest legend Rob Halford.
Ben Ward appears on 3rd track ‘Faith in Time’ and this ditty actually has a Megadeth vibe to it, spewing up in the background and then confirms that this is more metal than a rock number halfway through the song, it works a treat and shows a darker side to Campbell’s songs. ‘Swing It’ is the type of song that you’ll lose points on your licence for playing- and we don’t condone that people, but this is a ripping song featuring the singing talents of Alice Cooper, who growls his way through this track like a true veteran of the genre. Nev Macdonald guests for the rather excellent ‘Left for Dead, a track that brings the record to a thundering break, and is a nice number with a killer chorus.
Nick Oliveri sings on the next track ‘Walk the Talk’. If Campbell includes this as a live number it should be a real crowd pleaser. It’s a jumping track and the catchy riff will have everyone dancing together. Oliveri also sounds like Mike Patton on this one and it’s hard to tell the difference to be honest, he even does a Patton scream at one point.
‘These Old Boots’ is much like ‘Walk the Talk’ in that the riffs in here are brilliant and again it will go down live so well if played. Dee Snider sings on this one and this is one of the best tracks on the album. Whitfield Crane sings on next track ‘Dancing Dogs’ and it’s no surprise to see the Ugly Kid Joe front man appear in a Phil Campbell project given that he was close friends with Lemmy and Motorhead and wore a Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons t-shirt at every gig UKJ played on their European tour a few years ago.
‘Dead Roses’ is sung by fellow Welshman Benji Webbe and this is a classic slice of piano rock a.k.a the ballad. The album finished off with an instrumental called ‘Tears from a Glass Eye’ and is a great way to round off Campbell’s first solo record, it is very reminiscent of early Pink Floyd.
‘Old Lions Still Roar’ is a defining moment for Campbell and a roaring success, it’s classic rock tunes served with a big helping of whisky and a Jack- Lemmy would have loved it!