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Michael Grant & The Assassins: Always The ...
Michael Grant & The Assassins - Always The Villain Album Art

Michael Grant: Always The Villain

Melodic Hard Rock

Perhaps you recognize songwriter and multinstrumentalist Michael Grant. If not, here's short history. Grant was the founder of Sacramento alternative melodic hard rock band Endeverafter, signed to Epic Records and active in the early 2000s. After this Grant was a touring guitarist for L.A. Guns as well as recording one album with the band. But now Grant spends his time working on his latest project Michael Grant & The Assassins. While The Assassins are a touring band, this debut album, Always The Villain was written and recorded by Grant himself. With the exception of guest drummer Shane Fitzgibbon on five tracks, Grant plays all the instruments.

Michael Grant - Click For Larger Image

Michael Grant

Suffice to say, this is a pretty terrific album. Grant is an exceptional songwriter with a keen ear for melody and harmony, especially in the guitar and vocal parts. Additionally, he crafts his songs with plenty of rock rhythm and groove, and more than a few catchy refrains, for AOR accessibility. Grant is also a fine guitar player. His riffs are brisk and strong, his solos rip roaring. Between the riffs, vocal arrangements, and bold rhythm section, many songs have dense feeling akin to the proverbial "wall of sound." And he's a surprisingly good vocalist, singing clean and melodic, perhaps with a little punkish flair to his vocal timbre (notable in Barrel Of A Gun). (Here's hoping all this praise doesn't swell his head.)

Speaking to a few songs, for some brisk riff rockers with strong guitar solos, listen for Barrel Of A Gun, Always The Villain, or Runaway. Alternatively, songs such as Death Of Me or Killing Me Slowly have big beats from the drum line and steady pacing as Grant wraps his guitar lines around them. In the center of the album are Red Light Run and Anthem Of Us. While both have dense and sharp riffs, the rhythmic groove and smoother vocal arrangements give both songs a more AORish feeling. If there's any song that's lighter, more subdued, as a rock anthem, it's the closing Secrets. All in all, Always The Villain is a solid debut album for Michael Grant & The Assassins, offering some exceptional and entertaining melodic hard rock. Recommended. - New fiction, crime fiction by Craig Hartranft

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The Bottom Line

Always The Villain is a solid debut album for Michael Grant & The Assassins, offering some exceptional and entertaining melodic hard rock. Recommended.

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