This is the debut album from Michael Grant & The Assassins, a band seemingly consisting of Michael grant alone, so one may reasonably ask: Who are the Assassins? The answer to that question will have to go unanswered, but when you are as skilled a musician as Michael Grant then do you really need anyone else in the studio? Live work, of course, is different so it will be interesting to see who he brings on board and if that affects the dynamics of what is effectively a one-man band. Before throwing himself body and soul into this project, Grant was the vocalist and lead guitarist with Endeverafter, a San Francisco based alternative rock group that he disbanded in 2012 before serving a five year stint as touring guitarist with L.A. Guns, and he also recorded one album with them, 2017’s The Missing Peace.
So, on Always The Villain, Grant plays all instruments, apart from Shane Fitzgibbon playing drums on five of the eleven tracks, and the sound is simply phenomenal – which makes Grant one hell of a musician and songwriter, whilst his skills as a guitarist are quite stunning. There are many influences on this album, which starts off in sleaze rock mode before moving onto gargantuan stadium rock via indie heaven. Churning riffs and hard, blistering solos are the order of the day as Grant plays hook laden heavy rock, but all influenced with an indie attitude, and there is a definite influence of Slash and his work with Myles Kennedy in his sound. Exciting and very upbeat, this is a gorgeous example of indie meeting melodic rock with just a touch of outrageous metal thrown in for good measure. I have a feeling that we are going to hear a lot more from Michael Grant & The Assassins. Whoever they may be!
Track List: Barrel Of A Gun (3:36, Always The Villain (5:04), Killing Me Slowly (4:55), Nightmares (5:40), Red Light Run (4:11), Anthem Of Us (5:18), Break Me With U (4:03), Death Of Me (4:15), Runaway (Can You Stand The Rain) (4:20), Gimme Salvation (4:00), Secrets (5:09).