Def Leppard had a busy year of activity – releasing their first official live album and mounting a successful summer tour with Heart.

But that didn’t stop guitarist Phil Collen from somehow finding time to release one of the most underrated rock albums of the year with his side project Manraze.

‘Punkfunkrootsrock’ is both the album title and an ADD-appropriate description of what you’ll hear from Collen’s bitchin’ power trio.

The record finds Phil handling guitar and lead vocals with his former Girl bandmate Simon Laffy on bass and Sex Pistols drummer Paul Cook behind the kit.

After leading off with the Alice Cooper-esque rock of ‘Over My Dead Body,' Manraze is continuing to plug the new album with their take on Jimi Hendrix’s classic ‘Fire.’

To understand where the spark for this cover version came from, you can look to the formative stages of Manraze as a trio, where they found themselves listening to a lot of the classic three piece rock outfits from the past including Hendrix, Cream, Nirvana and The Police.

Collen told us in an interview earlier this year that listening to those bands served as reference material; it was only natural that some of the trademark stylings from those groups would seep into the music that Manraze was making. ‘Fire’ found its way into the Manraze repertoire very early during their rehearsals.

The Manraze take on ‘Fire’ is fairly straight forward, and that’s not a bad thing. They manage to capture the essence of the original with particularly satisfying drumming from Paul Cook, who sweats out a rhythmically cracking beat underneath a ruggedly scuzzy vocal from Collen.

To capture the Experience-like wall of background vocals, it seems likely that Collen might have employed just a bit of vocal stacking magic borrowed from his Leppard day job, but it’s applied sparingly and helps to make the Manraze version feel more authentically “Jimi” like. Most importantly, ‘Fire’ further gives Collen the opportunity to show off his Hendrix-worthy guitar chops.

While cover songs can sometimes be unnecessary filler, this version of ‘Fire’ is a definite bright spot on Manraze’s ‘punkfunkrootsrock’ album, and it’s an enticing introductory carrot that will very likely lead you towards wanting to hear the rest of the album.


Listen to Manraze's 'Fire'

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