I’ve been a big fan of heavy metal singer/songwriter Tony Harnell ever since I first heard TNT’s Realized Fantasies album in 1992. I interviewed him in 2013 when he was promoting an EP he did with Bumblefoot of Guns ‘N Roses fame called Tony Harnell & The Wildflowers featuring Bumblefoot. And what an EP it was. Truly amazing stuff. If you like acoustic rock, you need to go listen to it now. But if metal is more so your style, then you just need to listen to Starbreaker’s incredible new single “Pure Evil” above. I can’t get over how powerful this one is. And fast; it’s like speed metal. Everything about it is perfect. The monstrous riffs could blow fish out of water, coming at you sharp as hooks. In a good way, of course. The guitar solo is the stuff of every air guitarist’s dreams. On fire. And Tony sounds phenomenal, demonstrating power and control in a way that few other singers can do. As always, there’s a magical quality to his voice. He’s every bit as mesmerizing as Rob Halford of Judas Priest or Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson. That said, this song is perhaps better compared to the great Helloween, especially when you zero in on the four on the floor drums that fire off faster than a racecar.
If you were bummed upon finding out that plans for a new TNT album with Tony Harnell fell through not too long ago, as I was, I don’t think any of us will be complaining when we hear Starbreaker’s new album Dysphoria. Not if “Pure Evil” is any indication. Hell, it’s like TNT on steroids! I’m not sure of a release date just yet, but it will be released via Frontiers Records, the one and only major label for hard rock and heavy metal bands these days.
Now we just have to cross our fingers and hope that Starbreaker does a US tour. Or that Tony does a solo tour. I was lucky enough to catch him fronting Skid Row while he was briefly in that band and he sounded great, but naturally, I kept hoping they’d bust out a few TNT tunes. And listening to him sing Skid Row songs was like watching an episode of Black Mirror or The Twilight Zone. It just wasn’t a good pairing. They sounded great together, admittedly, but it was so bizarre. Like watching David Lee Roth front Poison Ozzy fronting Dokken. Talk about worlds colliding. Definitely one of the strangest concerts I’ve ever been to. Anyway, Starbreaker is back with their first album in a decade coming soon and that’s something that makes complete sense. It’s kismet, really. Welcome back, Tony and Magnus!
An entertainment journalist for 20 years, Michael McCarthy was a columnist and contributing editor for the magazines Lollipop and LiveWire. He co-created and wrote for Cinezine, one of the '90's most popular movie E-zines. The only time he's not listening to music is when he's watching television shows and movies or reading, usually music magazines.