Red Dragon Cartel – Red Dragon Cartel Review

Having said all that, I still like the album after a few spins. The songs I loved instantly were “Feeder,” “Slave,” “Big Mouth,” and “Redeem Me.” And again, musically,...

rdc_cover

Released by: Frontiers Records

Release Date: January 28th, 2013

Genre: Hard Rock

Links: http://reddragoncartel.com/

 

 Line Up:

Guitar: Jake E Lee.

Bass: Ronnie Mancuso

Vocals: Darren James Smith

Drums/Vocals: Jonas Fairley

 

Tracklist:

Deceived

Shout It Out

Feeder (featuring Robin Zander)

Fall From The Sky (Seagull)

Wasted (featuring Paul Di’Anno)

Slave

Big Mouth (featuring Maria Brink)

War Machine

Redeem Me (featuring Sass Jordan)

Exquisite Tenderness

 

If you don’t know who Jake E. Lee is then chances are good you’re either too young, live under a rock, or aren’t a metal fan. He is the guitarist that had the daunting task of replacing Randy Rhoads in Ozzy Osbourne’s solo band after his tragic plane crash. Not only having to fill the shoes of an immensely talented guitarist, but also having to follow up two very significant albums in the catalog of such a legendary singer as Ozzy, Jake E. Lee had the unenviable task of winning over an already committed fanbase. I make no bones about it, other than Tony Iommi, and despite the love and respect I have for Rhoads, Jake in my humble estimation is my favorite guitarist to play with Osbourne in a long line of incredible players. There is something about those two albums, Bark at the Moon and The Ultimate Sin that “did it” for me. Truth be told, I came to Ozzy solo via The Ultimate Sin, and Randy’s legacy followed shortly so for me Jake’s guitar work is what made me love Ozzy away from Sabbath. After his stint with Ozzy he moved on to form a band that recorded an album that still to this day blows my mind and makes my nipples hard as a rock. That band and album would be Badlands s/t debut. No joke, the first time I heard that album, and every single time since, that album sends chills down my spine and excites me beyond belief. Sadly, Badlands would be cut short after only a couple albums, and then silenced forever after the tragic death of singer Ray Gillen in 1993.

Disenchanted by the music business, Jake would go into a self-imposed exile after releasing one solo album called A Fine Pink Mist in 1996. For nearly a decade he was virtually off the radar, only releasing a couple covers albums that were well received by longtime fans. Finally, after being coaxed by Ronnie Mancuso, current Red Dragon Cartel bassist convinced him to come out of retirement and put to good use the music he had amassed during his time away. When I heard that Jake was coming back I was beyond ecstatic. I have wanted him to come back all these years, and have enjoyed everything he has put out, including the covers albums. I have eagerly anticipated the release of this album since well before it was even a thought in anyone’s mind. My expectations were very high for it, so it’s no surprise that on my first listen (especially after hearing reports of the first show fiasco with new singer DJ Smith not performing very well at all) I would be slightly disappointed. Musically, the album is super impressive. Jake is playing with a power and fire that got my pulse racing. This is easily the heaviest release he has ever done. So any setbacks I had initially had little to do with Jake. The first thing that soured me some was the vocals. To put it bluntly, I didn’t like the vocals on the songs done by the main singer DJ Smith. Pretty much every track that had a guest vocalist I enjoyed, it was just the ones featuring Smith. And it’s not that he’s a bad singer, it’s just that he’s kind of generic. He sounds like so many other radio rock singers out there, but not even on the upper level of those vocalists. Perhaps I’m just spoiled wanting to hear someone belt out like Gillen. And not that I was expecting this album to be a Badlands-esque album, but with the quality I have come to appreciate from Jake over the years, this not so great singer was a bit of a shocker.

Having said all that, I still like the album after a few spins. The songs I loved instantly were “Feeder,” “Slave,” “Big Mouth,” and “Redeem Me.” And again, musically, though it’s significantly heavier than what one would be accustomed to from Lee (and at times a bit more modern than my personal tastes typically go for,) it’s an excellent album. If I could’ve isolated the vocals on some of the other tracks and removed them I would’ve been an instant fan of the entire album. Now that I’ve had a chance to get a little more used to DJ Smith’s voice I have come to appreciate it a little bit, but stand firm on the ground that his voice really detracts from the songs. I truly believe had Smith had a better voice (or Jake had gone with a different singer) Red Dragon Cartel’s debut would be a contender for album of the year early on for me. As it stands it’s an enjoyable album, and perhaps others may appreciate the vocals of DJ Smith better than I did.

 

Written by Chris Martin

Ratings    Chris    7/10

Tell Us How You Feel

Comments

 
Categories
Album Reviews
EVANESCENCE & WITHIN TEMPTATION WORLDS COLLIDE AT THE O2 ARENA, LONDON ON MONDAY, 14TH NOV 2022
EVANESCENCE & WITHIN TEMPTATION WORLDS COLLIDE AT THE O2 ARENA, LONDON ON MONDAY, 14TH NOV 2022

EVANESCENCE & WITHIN TEMPTATION WORLDS COLLIDE AT THE O2 ARENA, LONDON ON MONDAY, 14TH NOV 2022

Photo Credit: Daisy Robinson

Revolution Saints - "Eagle Flight" (Official Video) | Deen Castronovo, Jeff Pilson, Joel Hoekstra
  • Nevena – Nevena Review

    This is classy AOR of the highest order.
    December 7, 2022
  • Korrosive – Toxic Apokalypse Review

    What is going on over in Canada, eh? 2022 has been a fantastic year for Canuck rock and metal – here’s another to add to the list. This time...
    December 7, 2022
  • Tailgunner – ‘Crashdive’ EP Review

    Old school British metal given a fresh lick of lead paint and brought up to date by a fine production from Enforcer’s Olof Wikstrand. Hopefully, Tailgunner are going places...
    December 7, 2022
  • Disturbed – Divisive Review

    The ten songs were recorded last year in Nashville in collaboration with producer Drew Fulk. What you can notice is the relatively constant line-up which allows the band to...
    December 7, 2022
  • Drenalize – Edge of Tomorrow Review

    Nice album, although for some perhaps sounds a bit dated and cliché tingled, but it still is a great nostalgic trip down memory lane in the world of 80s...
    December 7, 2022
  • Solitude Within – When Kingdoms Fall Review

    Without a doubt, this is a band to check out a.s.a.p. if you’re a fan of the female-fronted symphonic melodic metal genre, and it wouldn’t surprise me if they...
    December 7, 2022

RELATED BY

UA-20474228-2