Atello - The Big Payoff

Atello – The Big Payoff


The Atello debut release ‘The Big Payoff’ is steeped in the tradition of 80’s U.S hard rock, bringing to mind acts such as Skid Row and Tuff.

Written by: Luigi

ARTIST: Atello
ALBUM: The Big Payoff
LABEL: Self Released
YEAR: 1999
CD INFO: Discogs Info

LINEUP: Larry Atello – vocals * Rick Giarmo – guitars * Ralph Heiss – bass, background vocals * T.Motts – drums, percussion

TRACK LISTING: 01 Intro * 02 Love Me Down * 03 Emotional Blackmail * 04 You’ve Got A Grip On My Heart * 05 Your Love * 06 Full Moon Fever * 07 Hold On * 08 Blind Justice * 09 The Big Payoff



My introduction to the world of melodic rock was back in the days of ‘Hysteria’. I then moved on to the usual 80’s LA metal stalwarts such as Skid Row, Motley Crue, Britny Fox, Cinderella, etc.

It wasn’t until I found the Internet that I discovered there was so much more to this amazing genre of music. Even though I’ve broadened my scope of interest, I still love the old days. Atello, formed by frontman Larry Atello and Ralph Heiss on bass, are still living those days. Their debut release ‘The Big Payoff’ is steeped in the tradition of 80’s U.S hard rock, bringing to mind acts such as Skid Row and Tuff, with a pinch of Queensryche here and there. To this listener, it’s a welcome return to some fond memories.

The Songs

After a very brief intro track, ‘Love Me Down’ opens proceedings. A straight-ahead rocker that moves along nicely, but might have been better suited to a position further down the track list. ‘Emotional Blackmail’ however, forces you to take notice with it’s metalized funk riff courtesy of guitarist Rick Giarmo and some strong, aggressive vocals by Larry Atello.

‘(You’ve Got A) Grip on My Heart’ begins with a hint of Queensryche ala ‘Della Brown’, yet the chorus rocks big-time with a strong similarity to Tuff‘s debut. Also, Giarmo’s lead break is very tasteful indeed. ‘Your Love’ reminds me a lot of McQueen Street, while ‘Full Moon Fever’ has an Ozzy feel to it thanks to guitarist Rick doing some awesome Zakk Wilde-ish riffing.

‘Hold On’ is a great ballad/rocker, sounding like a cross between Roxus and Skid Row. Larry Atello does a fine vocal job on this one. Atello show they also have a social conscience on ‘Blind Justice’, a fast paced rocker that deals with the failing justice system. Title track ‘The Big Payoff’ ends our Atello experience, another pounding heavy rocker.

In Summary

Larry Atello has a good voice that I’d like to see let go a little more often, while Rick Giarmo shows some great talent. Also deserving of a mention is the production, very impressive for an indie band. Clocking in at just under 40 minutes (9 tracks) it would have been nice to have a bit more value for money, but it’s quality not quantity that counts, right? No problem there, just make sure you play it loud ’cause Atello rock.

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