I remember the first time I heard Slaughter – it was on one of those ballad compilation albums and the song was, of course, “Fly to the Angels”. The progress was natural because let’s face it, there’s no way you can listen to that gorgeous song and don’t ask for more! I got their debut album, “Stick it To Ya” and instantly fell for the distinctive, rough, high-pitched voice of Mark and the band’s dangerous, thrilling rock sound. Till today, that first release remains one of my most beloved glam metal releases and I still think that it deserved so much more than it actually did.
1990 is long gone but thankfully, Mark Slaughter is still making music, as good as he did over 25 years ago. The band is also currently active, participating in concerts and touring around the States. The ‘90s were, however, Slaughter’s busiest and with that, most successful period of their career. Once the new decade kicked in, vocalist and songwriter Mark Slaughter started exploring other musical directions, including DJ-ing, voice-acting, music composing for TV shows and others. It took Mark Slaughter some time before he officially embarked on a solo musical journey. First, he released a single track, then a digital-only album and now, we can finally purchase and enjoy a full-length solo record, titled “Halfway There”. The special 10-track album (11 in Japan) hit the music market on the 26th of May via EMP Label Group (a US-based label owned by David Ellefson, Megadeth bassist) and let me tell you something – it hit it hard! I really missed that classic, Slaughter sound and Mark is just bringing it all back on this album – that and way way way more! “Halfway There” is a worthy progression and obvious artistic evolution for him but with a little bit of old-school hint. It was a pleasure for me to listen to it from start to finish and I hope after reading this article, you will grab the album if you haven’t done it yet.
“…a return to form of the classic Slaughter sound, but with some modern upgrades,” says the EMP Label Group.
One of the most brilliant aspects of this album is that Mark was actually in charge of not only the vocals but he’s also the one playing the guitar, bass, keyboards and behind the orchestration as well. That should tell you something! This is clearly a very dear album to him and he put his soul, heart and every talent he has to make it sound as sincere as possible. Mark is a superb artist and taking full control over this entire record was definitely the right direction.
Let’s talk songs!
The album kick things off with the mighty rock anthem “Hey You” which just begs to be played live. I can imagine it – the crowd screaming together with Mark this captivating chant, “Hey You, All Hands up, Rock & Roll Forever!” What an opener! We move on to “Devoted” which is even more powerful and aggressive than the first one; I swear, this entire album is one punch in the stomach after another! “Supernatural” brings us back to Mark Slaughter‘s more melodic, radio-friendly appeal with its funky rhythms and cheerful vocal delivery. The fourth track is the monumental title song which in my humble opinion has to be the highlight on “Halfway There” and that’s not just because I love ballads. Flawless vocals, striking personal lyrics and don’t you even get me started on the composition; this song left me speechless! “Conspiracy” and “Reckless” are two other tracks to watch out for. The dangerous guitar-driven “Conspiracy” is one of the heaviest, most destructive tracks on “Halfway There”; “Reckless” on the other hand is a straight-up classic rock tune, fueled with mind-blowing riffs that just make your head spin! What an experience! The album wraps things up in a gentle manner with the bluesy, modern-style “Not Here” which impresses with quality solos and of course, Mark‘s soul-soothing, lullaby-like vocal delivery.
I’ve been a huge fan of Slaughter so needless to say Mark‘s solo release was highly anticipated. We still have half a year to go, but this might actually turn out to be one of the top solo rock releases of 2017. It’s a brilliant album, showcasing Mark‘s artistic greatness and growth as a musician. He gets an A++ from me!