May 23, 2024

…a really tight set all round, of no-holds-barred, good time rock and roll

It has long been a source of amazement to me that classic hard rock still appeals to so many of the younger generation. I mean, when I was a teenager, my Dad’s jazz and swing collection might as well have come from another planet; none of my mates were into that, we all turned up the fuzz on our electric guitars and rocked out. But all these decades later, a strong subsection of today’s kids are donning their axes and blasting out exactly the same rock we would have been playing during the New Wave Of Heavy Metal in the early ‘80s. The Treatment though, take it one step further – with a sound based heavily on Judas Priest and Bon Scott-era AC/DC, they arguably predate the New Wave and go right back to the early days of hard rock.

These guys don’t mess around. Now on their sixth album, and just starting to nudge their way out of their twenties, they are still blaring out the same high-octane heavy metal as they were in their teens. The title of the new opus, Wake Up The Neighbourhood, betrays their whole aesthetic; no-nonsense power rock, with little or no complication or sophistication. That’s not to say they can’t play though; they are actually very good and as tight as you like, with a dual lead guitar attack, but they stay focused on their strengths.

Album opener Let’s Wake Up This Town starts as they mean to go on, with spot-on mid-tempo classic rock riffage. Front man Tony Rampton, now on his third album with the band, combines power and accuracy in his delivery, and clearly deserves his place. They change up a key for the guitar solo in classic Angus Young fashion, with a strong flavour of Priest’s Living After Midnight in the thematic content. This is followed by the glam nostalgia-fest Back To The 1970s, which is as self-explanatory as it gets. The lyrics name-check Led Zep, Deep Purple and Roxy Music, in a package approaching southern rock.

When Thunder And Lightning Strikes starts in the same vein, but then shifts to double tempo at 2½ minutes, proving that the guys can switch it up when they want to; check it out at the foot of this page. The driving This Fire Still Burns keeps up the pace, but the next song is one of my favourites for sure: Man On The Highwire opens with a rocking Roadhouse Blues riff, with a thudding kick drum. No metaphorical meaning here though. The song’s protagonist is literally a tightrope walker at a circus; he knows people pay good money hoping to see him fall, but he never does.

A bit of a change for the next song; melodic pop-rocker I Can’t Wait No Longer harks right back to Bowie and Mott The Hoople. Then the highlight of the album for me: Don’t Make No Difference is an ode to individuality, and a rocking, up-tempo, riffy piece of fun to boot. Great guitar solo on this one too; mixed a bit higher than the others, well thought-out and powerful.

And so it goes on; Fire Me Up makes use of an imaginative bit of blues riffage between the verses, Free Yourself features some sweet, rolling bass from newest member Andy Milburn. The lyrical themes range from don’t-mess-with-me rockers to don’t-let-anybody-push-you-around exhortations. The set ends with a slight change of direction: I’ve Got My Mind Made Up is still a chugging rocker, but it seems to have been composed with the single-buying public in mind. It could even be a latter-day Status Quo single, and the shortest number on the album at sub three minutes. It ends on a really tight riff though, and there you have it: a really tight set all round, of no-holds-barred, good time rock and roll. All killer, no filler. Keep piling it on boys; this grizzled old rocker bangs his head in approval.

Wake Up The Neighbourhood by The Treatment is now available from Frontiers Records