not a member? click here to sign up
"Renegade" is the best Thin Lizzy album since "Bad Reputation".
Liam Mackey, 11 Dec 1981
No equivocation necessary here, - "Renegade" is not only the best Thin Lizzy album since the memorable "Bad Reputation" set, it is also one of the most satisfying twelve inches of vinyl to rotate on my turntable for a goodly period of time.
And it's a fine feeling to be able to state this, because it means, crucially, that Phil Lynott's creative talents have returned to peak health after what your present writer felt was a relatively uninspired phase following the celebratory pinnacle of "Live and Dangerous".
There aren't many songwriters who can juggle style and substance with as much poise as Phil Lynott- certainly in the context of the hard rock school, he is virtually unique. Partly Lynott's succes as a writer has to do with the patented belending of tough and tender sensibilities, the hard-nut rocker and the soft romantic proving to be two sides of the same coin. More fundamentally though it could be said that his writing straddles the symbolic divide that usually seperates the freedom of the wide, open plains from the claustrophobic tensions of the high-rise city. He writes solely from neither vantage point but rather from a place which in the words of the Creedence song is where the "neon meets the trees".
"Renegade" highlights the Lynott persperctive to strikng effect. Here, the menacing, definitely urban hard rock of 'Hollywood (Down On Your Luck)' and the evocative Mexican flavour of the aptly-named 'Mexican Blood' prove to be compelling, mutually complementary partners. And working, as they are, in a field where one-dimensional writing and performance is the accepted norm, the presence of Lynott and Lizzy is even more welcome.
"Renegade" is particularly notable for the wealth of styles and senses it accomodates. No one song apes the character of another, formula is abandoned in the keen desire to see a good idea through to the complete frutition.
'Angel of Death' opens the album on a foreboding and chillingly atmospheric note. An eerie, other-wordly synthesizer sets the soundscape before the band lock into a powerful chemistry, as Lynott, acknowledging the prophecies of Nostradamus, details the terrible lessons of history and warns of an imminent apocalypse which will push the human race "down, down deep underground". Whether Nostradamus was anything other than a living publicity stunt is neither here nor there, the fact remains of the deadly threat of nuclear war and 'Angel of Death' captures our worst fears with unsettling precision.