Fireworks

Red Dragon Cartel - 'Red Dragon Cartel' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/93/16/aa/RedDragonCartel-23-1389045475.jpg Hot

Added by James Gaden     January 06, 2014    
 
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Different from what was expected, but excellent!

After far too long making low-key solo albums and demos with acts that didn�t get off the ground, renowned Ozzy/Badlands guitarist Jake E. Lee has finally recorded an album of new material with a raucous and powerful new band. Also featuring Beggars And Thieves guitarist Ronnie Mancuso on bass, Harem Scarem drummer Darren Smith on vocals, and relatively unknown Vancouver-based drummer Jonas Fairley, the newly-monikered Red Dragon Cartel have the right sound at the right time, tipping a hat to Jake�s impressive past, but forward thinking in both writing and production.

Jake wastes no time setting out his stall with the �Bark At The Moon�-style riff to opener �Deceived�, a high-energy adrenaline rush with a fine mix of muscle and melody, as is the neck-breaking  �Slave�, albeit in a more modern rock direction. These are just one facet of a quite varied selection that singer Smith handles with aplomb, be it the Sabbath-like doom metal of �War Machine�, the groove oriented �Shout It Out� or the bluesy semi-ballad �Fall From The Sky� with its Ozzy-influenced delivery. In many ways this album reminds me of a heavier version of Slash�s debut, even down to the guest vocalists, from Cheap Trick singer Robin Zander�s unmistakable melodies on the Beatles-esque �Feeder�, to Paul Di�Anno�s guttural delivery on �Wasted�. Top of the pile, however, is Canadian chanteuse Sass Jordan, who imbues the melodic �Redeem Me� with an irresistible charm, an atypically melodic ending to the album along with a short piano instrumental. The only one that doesn�t really work for me is �Big Mouth�, partly due to it sounding a little too contrived, and partly for In This Moment�s Maria Brink on additional voice, but with the standard of the other tracks it doesn�t lower the average by very much.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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With the powerful production of R. Bernard Mann (a.k.a. Lee and Mancuso) and mix and mastering by the respected Kevin Churko, the album has a fresh and vibrant feel that mixes well with Lee�s blues-based fretboard wizardry and the high standard of musicianship throughout. Add in a singer who can handle any style - here he�s referred to as D.J. Smith - and you have a debut album that�s crying out to be played live.

To be honest Red Dragon Cartel are slightly different from what I expected, but am I disappointed? Not one bit!

Phil Ashcroft

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