Michael Monroe – Blackout States

album by:
Michael Monroe
Audio CD

Reviewed by:
On 12 October 2015
Last modified:12 October 2015


PlanetMosh reviews the new record by Michael Monroe, glam rock legend and former Hanoi Rocks frontman.

You can’t fault Michael Monroe for trying. The former frontman of glam rock legends Hanoi Rocks has been in the music business for well over three decades now and built a huge reputation in the process, yet he shows no signs of resting on his laurels and continues to write and record new material. Friday saw the release of his ninth studio album, Blackout States, which he is currently touring around the UK on a co-headline run with Hardcore Superstar and his first since 2012’s Horns and Halos, which debuted at #1 in the Finnish charts. It’s also the first record with new guitarist Rich Jones, who replaced Drenge last year.

Despite Michael’s ever present glam image, there’s a smattering of different genres present on here. We have the punk of opening duo ‘This Ain’t No Love Song’ and ‘Old King’s Road’, the straight up radio rock of the title track and ‘Goin’ Down with the Ship’ and the slower, more leisurely paced ‘Under the Northern Lights’. Monroe also shows off his multi-instrumental talents once again with a quite brilliant saxophone solo during ‘Good Old Bad Days’, whilst his backing band are still capable of playing fast and hard, as shown during ‘R.L.F’.

The issue is it’s a bit, well, dad rock at times nowadays. Glam rock/metal outfits rarely age well (even Guns N’ Roses, KISS and Motley Crue haven’t totally escaped unscathed) and whilst Monroe is famous for his near-total abstinence from drink and drugs, he’s also fallen into the trap. At too many points, the album sounds processed, formulaic and like it’s been rolled off a conveyor belt. At others it’s trying too hard, as if Monroe is making a vain attempt at appearing edgy and relevant, like Hanoi Rocks were in their heyday. ‘Permanent Youth’, for example and closing song ‘Walk Away’ are big slabs of cheese that should have been left on the cutting room floor. Maybe the intention isn’t to gain a new audience but to please the already existing fanbase, which as an outfit gets older is definitely the overriding factor to ensure their mere survival. From that point of view, it’s job done for Michael Monroe. Just don’t expect too many twenty-somethings at his live shows.

Band members

Michael Monroe – vocals, saxophone
Steve Conte – guitars
Rich Jones – guitars
Sami Yaffa – bass
Karl Rockfist – drums

Track listing

This Ain’t No Love Song
Old King’s Road
Goin’ Down with the Ship
Keep Your Eye On You
The Bastard’s Bash
Good Old Bad Days
Blackout States
Under the Northern Lights
Permanent Youth
Dead Hearts on Denmark Street
Six Feet in the Ground
Walk Away



PlanetMosh reviews the new record by Michael Monroe, glam rock legend and former Hanoi Rocks frontman.

About Elliot Leaver

PlanetMosh's resident Iron Maiden fanboy and Mr. Babymetal. Also appreciates the music of Pink Floyd, Rammstein, Nightwish, Avenged Sevenfold, Slipknot and many others. Writing to continue to enjoy life away from the stresses of full-time employment.