This review was originally released June 11th 2021
There is still a significant hype about Italian rock ‘n’ roll, especially in Europe, following Måneskin’s big win at the Eurovision contest. For many rock fans, these youngsters are likely their first introduction to the Italian scene, but for those with a deeper interest, one name usually comes up first – Dobermann! Led by the powerhouse trio of bassist and vocalist Paul Del Bello, guitarist Valerio Ricciardi, and drummer Antonio Burzotta, Dobermann has just released their fifth album, “Shaken To The Core,” at the beginning of June. This album comes four years after their last effort, “Pure Breed,” which introduced the English version of the band’s discography. With the bar set high, expectations for the new album were even higher. Dobermann has faced challenges in their career, often operating without a label or proper promotion, but their hard work touring all over Europe with acts like The Quireboys, Great White, Inglorious, and more, has paid off.
Listening to the entire album, one can’t help but notice the band’s significant improvement. While the raw and unique Dobermann sound is still present (the dobermann bite), there is a clear musical growth and experimentation with different styles and solutions. Tracks like “Staring At The Back Road” and “Over To Top” demonstrate the band’s willingness to delve into contemporary new rock with a classic feel, often referred to as NWOCR. On the other hand, songs like “Shaken To The Core” and “Stiff Upper Lip” deliver the high-octane, sleazy raw rock ‘n’ roll we’ve come to know from Dobermann, with Paul’s distinctive raspy vocals and Valerio’s crispy overdriven guitar tone. The album also surprises with a jam-like quality in “Dropping Like Flies.”
The other part of the album features great tunes like “Summer Devil” and “Rock Steady,” reminiscent of the new Gilby Clarke album with its unique guitar riffs. Towards the end, we encounter another pure Dobermann breed song, “Run For Shade,” filled with frantic guitar riffs, a fantastic extended guitar solo, and raspy screaming vocals. Finally, the closing track “Last Man Standing” stands out as a bit different from the rest of the record, showcasing some piano work and a mellower overall tone, with Paul delivering vocals that are “not that raw.” Despite the contrast, the song adds a stylish conclusion to the album, reflecting the Italian style.
Ultimately, Dobermann managed to reach and surpass the aforementioned high bar, crafting something different this time around, largely due to their experimentation. While it may not satisfy all fans, it is a positive sign of their maturing and the experience they have gathered from touring. For those into new wave rock with a classic feel, “Dobermann’s Shaken To The Core” is an absolute must-listen. And if everything keeps getting better, Dobermann is also a band not to miss in a live setting, where Paul’s fire-breathing stage presence and the band’s raw energy come to life. These guys are aiming high, and with Italians winning Eurovision with a rock song, one can only hope for even more success for this European country – perhaps even a victory in the coming EURO. It would undoubtedly make for a magnificent year!