No Retreat is the debut album by US hard rock act Youngblood. The album, released in 2012, has what is becoming to be a familiar story surrounding it: released in the modern era but written and recorded many years ago, in this case No Retreat was recorded in 1989. It was scheduled for a release that never happened. That is until Eonian Records decided to finally allow the release to see the light of day with a remastered and remixed sound.
Speaking personally, No Retreat is a difficult album for me. Not because it’s particularly groundbreaking or complex, but because Youngblood plays a style of hard rock which is not really my niche. If it weren’t recorded when it was I’d call it retro, and I think the band has something of a glam edge to their music. Having little to no background in either 80’s hard rock or glam rock/metal, and even less interest, I have nothing really to form a basis on for this review. So why review it at all? Well, as a reviewer I’ve always considered it something of a privilege to receive an album directly from its record label before release date, so you could say I feel obligated to review the albums I’m sent. The only reason I’ve ever had for not reviewing a promo was if it was a rare case when the words just wouldn’t flow, which unfortunately can happen with any album, not just in genres you’re not so familiar with.
So, as such, this review of Youngblood’s No Retreat should be taken entirely in the context described above with an understanding that the text of this review, or any review, is way more important than any score attached to it (which I haven’t even decided on as of writing this review up until this point).
What makes this most difficult for me though is that despite not having any interest in the genre, I can’t just write it off as a band out of their time, because even without that interest I can hear that No Retreat is a well performed and written release and by putting my objective hat on for a moment I can’t actually see anything inherently wrong with it and I expect fans of the style Youngblood plays will find what these guys do highly appealing. The music is clearly produced, and full of rocking riffs and catchy vocal hooks. Had the album’s original release happened as planned, I imagine Youngblood would have done quite well with an album like this one under their belt.
Is it still relevant in 2012? Well, probably not to all, especially the kids. Rock has, for better or worse depending on your perspective, moved on a lot since 1989, but for those who think rock moved on for the worse or if you’re simply a retro-head, I guess you could do a lot worse than Youngblood. Since I have to score this review for publishing I’m going to go with an above average grade rating, however rating this one for me was just a formality and hopefully the above text comes across as positively as it was intended.
(Originally written for Heavy Metal Haven (http://metaltube.freeforums.org))