Album Reviews

Red Dragon Cartel – Patina Review

Released by: Frontiers Records

Release Date: Out Now!!!

Genre: Hard Rock



Line Up:

Jake E Lee – guitars
Darren James Smith – lead vocals
Anthony Esposito – bass guitars
Phil Varone – drums



Crooked Man
The Luxury Of Breathing
Chasing Ghosts
A Painted Heart
Punchclown (Bonus Track)
My Beautiful Mess
Ink & Water


I’m pretty sure I reviewed the Red Dragon Cartel debut for MGM, but without going through the archives to check, I do know this: I have never been so pumped for an album to have been so greatly letdown as I was for it upon its release. Without a doubt, out of all the axe slingers Ozzy had during his solo years, Jake E. Lee is easily my favorite of the bunch. I know that likely bugs the Rhodes and Wylde fans, but it is how I feel. Those two albums, Bark At the Moon and The Ultimate Sin, truly blew away my young mind. Once he was out and formed Badlands, I was totally sold on his talents. After a solo album and some guest spots he essentially went into hermit mode, avoiding the industry and seemingly the world completely. So long I had hoped for his return to the music world. So when RDC was formed I was beyond stoked. For me, the s/t debut was too modern in spots, too experimental in others, and outside the songs that had guest singers, I really didn’t care for it. Something about Darren Smiths voice bugged me…bad. I’ve since gone back and revisited the album and actually liked it a lot more, getting the fact that he wanted a heavier album, distancing himself from his past a bit perhaps, maybe trying something new to get his bearings again. Much like the new Stephen Pearcy, I was a bit hesitant in reviewing the new album, but like the Pearcy album, I was actually impressed with it.

Patina is definitely more in line with the bluesier Badlands style while retaining some of the heavier more modern trappings of the last album. No vocal special guests this time, leaving the vocals up to Smith this time, and I have to say he doesn’t’ sound like the same singer. He’s a total badass now. Not sure what brought about the change, but I’m damn glad it happened. Of course, much like the s/t release, Patina shows why Jake is the guitar master. Not that he didn’t sound stunning on the last album, but whatever kinks he needed to work out are definitely out. Blazing through massive solos fired up with blues power and heavy metal aggression, to delivering thick riffs that you can feel in your soul, Jake is 100% on top of his game. Tracks like “Bitter,” “Speedbag,” “My Beautiful Mess,” and “Crooked Man” demonstrate that not only are Red Dragon Cartel powerhouse performers but that they have the ability to create such great music. I was fairly well hooked to this album from the first listen, and it just got better and better with each additional spin.

If you had problems with the first Red Dragon Cartel album, give Patina a shot. It is so much better than its predecessor. If you enjoyed the first one, then there should be no issue with loving this one as it basically builds upon that one, just tightened up and better songs and performances. No one is happier to be able to say this other than me, “Jake E. Lee is back baby!!” Had this album been the first one I could’ve avoided the last four years of distress, but it was well worth the wait. Plus, it gave me the chance to revisit the first one, walking away appreciating it a lot more.


Written by: Chris Martin

Ratings: 8/10


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