Collateral – Should’ve Known Better – Review

Planet Thanet's Big Shots Return With Sophomore Album

Genre: Hard Rock

Label: Big Shot Records

Released: May 24th 2024


Angelo Tristan, Lead Vocals, Guitar,

Ben Atkinson, Drums ,

Jack Bentley-Smith, Bass,

Louis Sebastian Malagodi, Lead Guitar,


1. Glass Sky
2. Original Criminal
3. <Missing Extra Track>
4. One Of Those Days
5. Teenage Dreams
6. Elysium
7. On The Long Road
8. No Place For Love
9. Game Changer
10. Final Stand

Hailing from Planet Thanet, the UK’s answer to New Jersey, Hard Rock four-piece Collateral return some four years after their impressive debut proved that Brits can still make hard rock albums (rather than run-of-mill New Wave of Classic Rock style albums). Having grown up in the 80s, anthemic hard rock flows through my veins and Collateral gave me hope that we had a band that could fly the flag for the genre once more. Heck, I even went and bought some white jeans and a sleeveless t-shirt to celebrate. [NB: The wife says I’m not allowed to wear either in public..sigh!]

So, with a four year gap, impacted of course by the 18+ months that the pandemic knocked everything off course, what’s changed for Men of Kent.. or is it Kentish Men? I can never remember which one applies. Well, for starters, the line up has fluctuated somewhat. I’ve covered Collateral more times in the last few years than most writers and I’ve watched them go from a four-piece to a five-piece, adding original Louis back into the mix alongside Todd Winger, then expanding again by adding keyboards as well, before trimming everything back and ultimately returning to a four-piece which now sees Todd an enthusiastic supporter from the sidelines and Louis the main electric guitarist in the band. If the stripped back foursome is the future of the band then it’s fair to say that they’re heading in the right direction. 

Before we wax lyrical about the new album though, the gripes…. and I am going to copy and paste a paragraph from my January 2020 review of the band’s debut here to make a point: 

“The gripes… 9 tracks does not make an album. I want 10, not 9, 10. At just 35 minutes, like a premature ejaculators’ support group meeting, it’s over before it began. An extra track and 40 minutes plus of music could have easily pushed this to full marks but as it stands, it still ranks as one of my top bets for 2020.”

Well bugger me if they’ve ignored this and at 36 minutes and “NINE” f’kin tracks again, I’m back in support group mode and the album is done and dusted before I want it to be. I’m not asking for Sting’s levels of restraint but a 10th track gives us 5 on each side of the LP, brings balance to the force and dammit… after 4 years, we deserve “TEN”.  Even the wonderful, reworked debut, released as ‘ReWired’ added ‘Sin In The City’ and made the world a better place. 

Whilst you watch the debut single from the new album, ‘Glass Sky’, I’m going to take a blood pressure tablet and I’ll be back in a few minutes…. 

Right then… here we go. The album opens with the track above and if you’ve watched the video, it’s a corker. Just the right sort of tune to launch a hard rock album with the emphasis being ‘hard’ and ‘rock’. It’s got crunch, bite and more importantly as I’d hoped for when I first reviewed the band’s ‘4 Shots! e.p.’ , it answers the Sex Pistols rallying cry from ‘The Great Rock n Roll Swindle’ of “Let’s give it some bollocks”. And they do. 

This continues with ‘Original Criminal’, sporting an opening riff that would have happily graced a Dokken or Ratt album back in the mid-1980s when hard rock ruled the airwaves. So far so anthemic gold. We’ve even got sampled police sirens, wailing extended guitar notes reaching high into the sky to emphasize the key moments in the song. Loving this. 

Then we hit a slight blip. The ten track version of the album, would have had another heavy rocker at track 3. Those are the rules handed down through the decades in the ‘Codex Metalicus’, all hard rock albums open with 3 balls-out rockers before a softer tune but when you’re sporting 9 tracks, it’s a two and one mix which is a shame as ‘Just One Of Those Days’, the new single is a cracking tune, a worthy single, has a rich vein of Jon Bon Jovi (as a solo artist) running through it, but it’s come a track early. The guitar work is pure JBJ, not surprising when lead singer Angelo Tristan will openly admit that the man is his hero and the musician he aspires to be. On ‘Just One Of Those Days’, the dedication to the cause, coming from Angelovi is clear and the end result is very very impressive.

‘Teenage Dreams’ follows in a similar vein to the prior tune but gets an added bump, the sort that usually only comes in powdered format on a Friday night from Dave at the back of Tesco’s car park.. or is that just me? The bump here comes in the shape of some serious guitar work from Louis and it takes the tune to another level. On ‘Elysium’, an AOR radio friendly tune, we see just how far the band have come in the last few years, those four with fluctuating line ups have clearly helped them settle and define their sound and the end result , yet again, delivers. It’s a track that would stand up against any of the artists that have played Firefest over the years and I would hope in the future, now that the festival has returned, that Collateral will be placed alongside some of the nostalgia acts to present a great balance of the old, the current and the future of the genre. 

Now a hard rock album, needs a truly killer ballad, the sort that you play for your girl (or your guy, your dog or whatever is acceptable to say these days but you get what I mean) in the hope that you can ease them gently into your musical tastes by proving just how nice the band is, how lovely the song is and how you’ve also got tickets for Slayer next week but don’t worry about that just yet.. or something like that. 

‘On the Long Road’, like ‘About This Boy’ from the band’s debut, we once again have a killer ballad. ‘About This Boy’ remains my 18 year old daughter’s favourite song from the band ‘to date’, and with this new one, I feel she may just swap allegiances. She also also the demographic that Collateral need to attract to be a viable force for years to come. Appealing to the younger generation, rather than their parents who think Greta Van Fleet are just Led Zep rip-offs, is key these days. For the record, my daughter loves GVF as well but never mentions Zeppelin in the same breath.  

Now if you like your steak juicy, thick and coming from the finest stock, then look no further than the tail end of the album. ‘No Place For Love’ is the finest tune the band have ever written and it comes directly from the breeding stock that brought us ‘You Give Love A Bad Name’. Listen to the subtle licks from Louis under the main riff and then compare it to Richie Sambora’s work on the Bon Jovi track. As Tenacious D might say, “this is not the greatest song in the world, it’s a tribute”, but what a tune to play tribute to and the end result is absolutely stellar. 

Having broken the repeat play button on what I hope will be the band’s next single, the album closes with ‘Game Changer’ and ‘Final Stand’. If we can’t get three balls out rockers from Collateral before a ballad at the start of the album, then thankfully we get it in reverse at the end and the album closes on a real high. High energy, Angelo’s punchy vocals, killer rhythm section work from Ben and Jack and Louis’ playing acting as the Colonel’s secret recipe that makes ‘Should’ve Known Better’ sit a level above the band’s debut. 

I love it, this is an album that can comfortably sit alongside the releases from Collateral’s Scandinavian counterparts such as Eclipse, H.E.A.T., Crazy Lixx and more. Modern Hard Rock with an edge all the while recognising where the band, (well Angelo’s) love of this stems from. 

Score 9/10 [Again it’s a track short] 
Reviewed by Adrian Hextall

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