Back when he was prancing around in pancake makeup and a hairdo that kept the home-perm industry solvent for years, it was easy to characterize Dee Snider as the clown prince of heavy metal. These days, however, the former Twisted Sister frontman is, well, not exactly more serious, but a bit more three-dimensional in his perspectives on life, liberty, and the pursuit of rock. Snider says that this action-packed disc will be his swan song, and if so, he's managed to bow out both gracefully and guttily. As you might guess from the title, Never Let the Bastards Wear You Down boasts plenty of the us-against-them chest-thumping ("Our Voice Will Be Heard") that made mullet monarchs out of Twisted Sister. But Snider shows surprising range, punctuating his typical glam stomps with offbeat selections such as a good-natured strut through Dion's '50s chart-topper "The Wanderer," and the bruising "Hard Core," which Snider wrote as a tribute to his fellow travelers in Motörhead, thrashes at warp speed for its duration. There's a tinge of weariness to such songs as "Sometimes You Win" and "Desperado," but to his credit, Snider neither whines nor outstays his welcome. There's something to be said about saying goodbye on your own terms: And for that, Dee Snider deserves a pat on the back -- not to mention a sea of outstretched devil-horn hands as tribute.