In our youth, many of us dreamt of mixing and matching our favorite athletes from different teams into one all-star lineup. It was fun, stimulated your imagination, and left you wondering ‘what if.’ Daydreaming a little more, what if you applied the same type of thinking to music? What if you meshed together different rockers from your favorite bands? What if Jack Russell and Tracii Guns got together to create some songs? Well, someone’s fantasy just came true… because the two stars have joined forces for their new project Russell / Guns.
Two of the ‘80s biggest names in Hard Rock / Metal, everyone knows Traci Guns as the lead guitarist of L.A. Guns. This is while Jack Russell is known as the distinctive voice of Great White. Two different bands; L.A. Guns was heavier, more wild Hard Rock, all while Great White’s brand of Hard Rock was a bit more mainstream. This in mind, the two joining forces is a very curious proposition to many ‘80s Rock lovers as they prepare for the release of the debut album Medusa.
Set for release on Friday, January 12, 2024 through Frontiers Music s.r.l., it marks the debut full-length album the two musicians have written together. Consisting of eleven tracks, joining Russell and Guns in the studio were L.A. Guns Bassist Johnny Martin, Drummer Shane Fitzgibbon, and Keyboardist Alessandro Del Vecchio. A really great lineup to compliment this project, both Martin and Fitzgibbon both have a history with Russell and Guns; either playing live with them, or as members of other bands. This is while Del Vecchio, a force with Frontiers Music s.r.l., has brought together many great all-star collaborations over the years, and this includes Revolution Saints.
This all-in mind, Medusa marries the styles of Russell and Guns together quite nicely. You have more bluesy Hard Rock vibes you may hear with Great White, but also some large Heavy Metal riffs from Guns that would not be out of place with L.A. Guns. Beyond this, you also get some really great more mellow Rock tunes that would have fit perfectly at the top of the Billboard charts when Hard Rock reigned supreme back in the ‘80s era. Creating a really lovely balance, the tempo shifts seamlessly from the first half of the Medusa which is heavier on the Blues Rock, to more balladesque back end.
These twists and turns are interesting, and some of the most compelling cuts of the entire album would have to include the speedy rocker “Tell Me Why, “Coming Down,” the gritty “For You,” but also “Living a Lie,” the title-track,” and outstanding “Back Into Your Arms Again.” Just a sample of what Medusa has to offer, the guitar tones are fitting, riffs solid, and match really well with Russell’s voice. Russell, who has battled through various tough times over the last two decades, sounds as strong as ever. His voice is powerful, in shape, and brings you back to the peak years of Great White. However, if you have been paying attention, you would know this is not a new revelation; because Russell shined bright on both the 2017 album He Saw It Comin, as well as the 2021 Led Zeppelin tribute record, Great Zeppelin II.
Overall, Medusa is really an engaging Hard Rock album that will please both Great White and L.A. Guns fans. It hits the mark throughout and sticking to your bones, you will want to spin it again and again. And if you are not sold yet, just remember neither Guns or Russell mail it in here… they really give it their all and it shows. That is why Cryptic Rock gives Medusa 4 out of 5 stars.