Mark Slaughter - Halfway There

Mark Slaughter Halfway There cover
Mark Slaughter
Halfway There
EMP Label Group / SPV
2017
8
Average: 6.3 (20 votes)
Obviously Mark Slaughter had made quite a name for himself, either as the singer in Vinnie Vincent’s Invasion, a writer, singer and instrumentalist that collaborated with many and of course – despite the rise of Grunge in the 90s with Slaughter… so he was one of the pivotal “guys” in that scene right after the “superstars”...
 
Having watched a rather recent performance of Mark Slaughter in one of those Melodic Fests, I wasn’t exactly enthralled as his live vocals seemed to be quite rough… but it might have been a bad day. 2014’s “Reflections in a Rear View Mirror” was actually the first time in a while that Mark was actually doing something more than a mere contribution or a tribute song in quite a while and by all means wasn’t bad at all. But nothing had me prepared for “Halfway There”…
 
Having signed this to EMP (the David Ellefson led label) not the EU based seller of merch, on an exclusive deal with Universal If I’m not mistaken, marks the first time in a while, something of Mark’s is released by a multinational and I must admit I was very impressed by how thoroughly “original” and “inspired” “Halfway There” sounds. It has its 80s sound and mannerisms pretty much intact, a great set of songs, some pretty cool performances by Slaughter, who unless I’m mistaken again must have handled all but the drums and oh well... a production that’s not dated and meaningful, ponderous lyrics…
 
Hard edged, “Hey You” condemns the blatant inhuman “competition” between people and celebrates the sense of brotherhood, rock n roll affords people, in a song that can easily make you sing-a-long with it… just a lot of them Slaughter tunes did – if not even better…
 
“Devoted” is even better; it has a much heavier riff and again a sniping commentary about “dreams” that don’t come to fruition… bizarrely enough, I was trying to think of what the chorus reminded me and I ended up it sounds like something that Deris era PC69 could have written with Mark even singing it in a way that’s very reminiscent, but I highly doubt this was on purpose. Still brilliant – just brilliant!
 
I dunno what inspired “Supernatural”, but it’s a cool as hell, smooth and melodic song with modern sounding verses, but a big chorus that feels quite effortless. That’s the stuff!
 
The title cut, “Halfway There”, begins with some wailing guitars that feel quite Aero-like and it unravels into something that feels like 90s Bon Jovi meets Aero, which is not bad at all, since the 90s were a time when still those 2 behemoth rock acts were thriving and releasing pretty good material.
 
“Forevermore” ain’t gonna win points for originality, but it manages to encapsulate the streetwise charm that bands like Slaughter, Cinderella and the early Guns were able to project and infuse even their most melodic songs with… down to a T.
 
“Conspiracy” is musically totally derivative at least during the verses, but particularly during the bridge, but I guess it’s more the irony and social comment that’s important here, and not just that derivative riff…
 
“Reckless” has a grungier atmosphere and is the least interesting number musically, but its cathartic style makes me happy it’s included here.
 
“Disposable” begins in a reserved way and managed to bring to my mind Beatlesque melodies, a bit of Alanis Morrisete (uninvited) and many more things, in a song that feels like it’s taking 2 notes from here and 2 notes from there to create a collage that’s just as brilliant… and what a passionate delivery; it could apply both to love but also to social circumstances were people are being dumped by governments and organizations when they no longer have use for them…
 
“Turn It” is another passionate mid-tempo with a strong vocal that builds on – all about not standing for the BS that you might be faced with, but turning it all around…
 
Lastly, there’s “Not Here” a heart wrenching song, about a person’s passing; a song that begins in a really shy way, then sounds almost defiant and celebratory, then sad again as it goes through some pretty bluesy licks. It’s more of a mute celebration of life in the shocking aftermath of its loss... I’m pretty sure it must come from experience and it just feels so weird, but also so cathartic at the same time that I can’t find any other way to describe it than awesome in the most stirring fashion…
 
This is an awesome, honest, and heartfelt album that you should hear now, no matter what your opinion of Mark Slaughter might be…

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