CD Reviews

Revolution Saints - 'Light In The Dark'

Added by Central Electronic Brain     December 07, 2017    
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Where it is good, it's very good.

"Here we go again", that was my initial thought – and undoubtedly one shared by other genre observers – "yet another "project" band", when the formation of Revolution Saints was announced prior to their eponymous debut's early 2015 release. Yet the amalgamation of Jack Blades (Night Ranger) as bassist/secondary vocalist, Doug Aldrich (fresh out of Whitesnake) on guitar and then-Journey drummer Deen Castronovo resulted in an unexpected alchemy with one truly standout element...

Phil Collins, Roger Taylor, Dave Grohl, all members of that rarefied musical club of singing drummers. Add Castronovo to that list, and what a voice! Super-soulful and rich – imagine a blend of Steve Perry and Richie Kotzen. Yet in June 2015, any momentum that the Saints had gathered was arguably derailed by Castronovo's well-documented arrest and dismissal from Journey. Fast forward two years and he is clean, contrite and refreshingly candid in apportioning the blame for his conduct solely at his own door. Unsurprisingly, his travails form the lyrical basis for 'Light In The Dark', in particular the theme of redemption. The title track is easily the best Rocker here and makes the perfect companion to the similarly dynamic 'Turn Back Time' (from the 2015 debut) – if you're already a Saints fan then this number will thrill you... guaranteed.

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One criticism of their first album is that it was too ballad heavy, that's not the case here with just a pair of quality tracks that fit that term. The piano-driven 'I Wouldn't Change A Thing' merits its six-minute plus duration and showcases Castronovo's lovely voice at its best – the sum of his experiences lending a melancholy texture to his exquisite delivery – while happily Aldrich dials back his guitar heroics here in the interest of the song. On 'Can't Run Away From Love', the second ballad, Castronovo continues his soul-baring, while 'Falling Apart', the album's closer, sports a mid-tempo Pop vibe that made so many Journey anthems radio staples.

Alessandro Del Vecchio, Frontier's man of keys and producer, really deserves credit as the fourth Saint as his playing is prominent throughout, particularly on the likes of the moody 'Freedom'. Negatives? Sigh, it's an industry issue to be honest, but if new releases were limited to half a dozen tracks then we'd be spared forgettable fillers like 'Don't Surrender' and 'Another Chance'. However, where it is good though, it's very good! Welcome back Revolution Saints, Castronovo especially...

Caesar Barton

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