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Def Leppard Tour History Fan Archive.

Man Raze 'Surreal' Track By Track - By DefDazz/Darren

Surreal. Surreal.


Well here it is! After a very long wait the band have completed the album and it is due for release very soon. It's been a long - VERY long wait but it's been more than worth it. Having lived with the album for 5 days I can honestly say it's one of the best I've heard in a long time. Everything you expected from the band and more. The live sound the band had at the debut show in September 2005 has been captured perfectly on tape (digital toys). A very energetic rock album full of melody, great musicianship and more importantly just great songs. Any doubts that the re-recording over this two year period would make the songs sound too polished will soon be wiped away.

01 - This Is - 2:33

A great way to kick off this debut album, a statement of intent. If you were one of the few at The Spitz you'll remember this sound. It's exactly how they sounded live. A solid rock sound. The song is very fast, full of meaty riffing and fast soloing in the middle. Think Foo Fighters meets Sex Pistols. A big crescendo rock ending. As Phil says "Rock on baby!". This will be the tune to start the second Man Raze live show and any more that follow in 2008. In two and a half minutes they more than make up for the lengthy wait for this album to see the light of day.

02 - Turn It Up - 2:12

"Turn It Up, I Wanna Hear That Song again" - I think this pretty much sums up the record as a whole. All the excitement of track one but not as heavy. A good choice for the first single. Just a shame it wasn't out on CD and given a higher profile in this year, just before the album. One of the songs the band wrote after their live debut and re-discovery of themselves as a full on rock band. The live playing shows through - this is the sound of a band happy to be playing together and rocking out. Music which also makes the listener happy - Turn It Up!

03 - Runnin' Me Up - 4:06

The first time their Police influence shows through. Basically the same as the Instrumental Dub but updated. The reworking, re-recording makes this track much more heavy sounding. Especially drum-wise. It still has all the elements of the original with the same sublime mid-section. The middle now features a nice funky breakdown part before going into the cool guitar section from the instrumental - almost the same but with singing over the top of it. It would be nice to hear more songs in this style from the band, maybe on future releases but for now (and the rest of this record) any dub/reggae/Police influences are pushed to one side. This is not an experimental album but very much a rock record. And yet it still has lots of musical highlights showing the band's range and skill beyond a normal rock album.

04 - Every Second Of Every Day - 4:00

This is where the album becomes very interesting. Another song that sounds very different from the snippet heard over a year ago. The funky/dub parts from the sound samples are gone. Great slow building drums on the verses before the chorus kicks in. This is as close to a "ballad" as they get and it's nothing like a typical ballad even though it has very romantic lyrics. And the word romantic shouldn't put anyone off - the lyrics on this album are fantastic. Not a bad line and Phil sings each song perfectly. His vocals are one of the many highlights - alongside his guitar playing of course! The outro of the song is brilliant with it's "I Can't Think About You" vocal line repeating as the music plays out.

05 - Spinning Out - 3:22

The snippet of this song sounded very cool and the full song does not disappoint. Phil plays some awesome guitar parts in the middle of this mini-epic. Elements of White Lighting's intro meets Gods Of War - guitar and atmosphere-wise that is. Phil shows his vocal range with some very 'deep' singing at the start. None of this album (at least to me) sounds like Def Leppard but this is as close as Phil gets to sounding like his usual self from any of Leppards more heavy/epic songs.

06 - Can't Find My Own Way - 3:11

Not quite what you expect after hearing the very dub/Police-like version they played acoustically on the Rockworld special. The beginning of the song starts with a very Police-like bass part and Walking On The Moon style guitar, but before you know it, it kicks in. This is a rocked-up and speeded-up version. Phil singing in the same style as Runnin' Me Up. I think the phrase "The Police On Steriods" sums up the sound of this song. A typically shouty chorus as most of the songs have. Which make each track sound exciting. I couldn't pick a favourite from this album, to me all 12 tracks are equally brilliant but this one has something especially "great" about it. It stands out as a center point in the record. It also seems to be one of the bands most recent songs and if this is any indication of where they are headed for album number two - bring it on!

Due credit must go to Simon Laffy and Phil for their production on the album. It's been handled just right and the mix is spot on. All the band gell together well and no one instrument stands above any other. The playing is superb and the vocals are also spot on in the mix. As mentioned above if you thought the seemingly endless delays and re-recording would harm the records sound, worry not. When you hear how it's turned out you will not be at all disappointed.

07 - Skin Crawl - 3:53

A new version but basically the same as before. As heard on Man a few weeks back. A nice new intro before the song kicks in. Most peoples first introduction into the band in early 2005. Still sounding just as fresh as it did back then. The new drums really add to the sound and it sounds more...PHAT - for lack of a better word. A fuller sound and an improvement on the original. And as Phil describes it "more edgy". The new mid-section takes a bit of getting used to, after living with the original for over two years but once you give this a few listens you appreciate the extra work done in all that re-recording. Still their signature tune and a good song to kick off "side two".

08 - Low - 3:49

Like track 4 another surprise. It didn't stand out on first listen of the sound samples but like the live version heard in 2005 it rocks. And like the other song it's kind of ballad-like lyrically but rocked up. It has a really nice mix of styles, melodic AOR with a more rocking sound added in. This song has probably the longest solo by Phil. The album doesn't really have many but doesn't need them. The amount of guitars during each song makes up for any lack of soloing. And the album has an all round heaviness and energy. This song has a nice subtle verse sound before the chorus kicks in. Should become a live favourite with the cool "LOW! LOW!" chanting chorus line. And also one of many tunes on the album that will sound even better in summer sunshine and turned way up loud.

09 - Connected To You - 2:39

The brilliant opening to their debut show and probably their heaviest track along with This Is. A very exciting and high energy song. The playing of this live was impressive. That tight sound remains on this recording. Excellent drum work by Paul Cook to match the superb bass and guitars - and vocals!. I can't wait to hear this one live again.

10 - Halo - 2:57

This song has been speeded up from the original. Some great fuzz bass (if that's what it's called) at the start. And Simon and Paul's sound on the album is very much a part of it. They give the album a very solid sound. A great rhythm section which mixed with Phil's guitar playing is the sound of a complete band, no one thing overshadowing anything else. just as it was at their live show. Very musically satisfying. Another great chorus on this song. "It's all around!" - very catchy. On the album Phil does all the vocal work. His doubled up vocals and backing vocals are mixed in superbly with his lead vocals all the way through.

11 - It's Entertainment - 2:33

Starting off with an acoustic riff the song kicks in with some heavy duty drumming. Very heavy and pounding sound to this one and a punky, fast chorus. More great soloing by Phil and another song that has heaviness along with a catchy chorus. Another cool live "rock-ending". The ending of their first live show and sure to be included on their upcoming (soon please!) shows. And much like that first show a perfect statement - Entertainment Indeed! (Although after 5 days of this album I may be going slightly Deaf.)

12 - Shadow Man - 4:16

After 11 songs a bad one? no! there are 12 great songs and I don't use the word GREAT lightly. A great song to end the album with. I personally like this since getting to hear it (7 seconds but still...) in early 2005 before most people had heard of the band. A mid tempo song but still has all the energy and heaviness of the other tracks. See if you can spot the small guitar part from Torn To Shreds at the start. The middle of the song turns into a guitar fest with riffs and solos aplenty. The chorus of this is very nice with some great echo effects. Also a nice ending with just Phil playing guitar parts as the songs fades out. Some very cool guitar sounds on this song. You can tell Phil had a LOT of fun playing on this record. The enthusiasm they have for these songs shines through. And you are left wanting more (and to play it again) and are left anxiously awaiting the potential second album mentioned recently by Phil.

End Comments

As the first track says: This Is Man Raze! and this is very good indeed. After an almost 2 year wait the band are finally able to release their work for all of us to hear. Those of us who've been waiting, that is. But anyone else who likes good music will enjoy this album. It's clear this album was made by musicians who've been making music for 30 years (and longer) and all their previous experience shows in some brilliant songs. As good a debut album as you'll hear and music which deserves to be heard. Not forgotten soon after a download-only release. Or overshadowed by higher profile releases soon after (which has a 'lot' to live up to after this!).

I'd say this is as good as anything Phil has played on previously and the same goes for Simon and Paul. I rate this as highly as anything I've heard this decade (and long before).

This album shouldn't be compared to Leppard, it's a different band and it stands up on it's own. Truly great songs, no weak moments, no filler. If this were released on vinyl in the 1980s (remember vinyl?) you'd have two A Sides, if you count side two from Skin Crawl onwards. Most bands would be happy to have songs from 7-12 as first or second singles.

Standout tracks? One to Twelve! It's basically like a greatest hits album as a debut. Everything you've read about this album so far is - true! Two very positive media reviews and a big endorsement by Simon's brother Gerry. They know what they are talking about. There isn't anything to criticise or be negative about, it really is that good. I hope it's potential success is not going to be damaged in any way by the timing of it's release. Personaly I just feel pleased and privileged to have finally gotten to hear it, especially after following the band from the very beginning.

Now if you'll excuse me I'm going to do as I'm told on track 2 - Turn It Up!

By DefDazz/Darren 2008.