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Full Throttle Rock

Album Review: Red Dragon Cartel - Red Dragon Cartel

Posted on February 27, 2014 at 10:40 PM

Red Dragon Cartel – Red Dragon Cartel

Written by The Rock Man


My experience with guitar virtuoso Jake E. Lee dates back to the days of his work on the Ozzy Osbourne records Bark At The Moon (1983) and The Ultimate Sin (1986), my two favourite Ozzy albums and his band Badlands who released three albums during the 1990s. Apart from that my interest has been a little take it or leave it, yet when I heard Jake E. Lee was involved with a new project called Red Dragon Cartel, something in the back of my mind said “Check this out” and I am glad I did.

This new venture of Lee’s features himself on lead guitar, English born vocalist Darren James Smith, drummer Jonas Fairley and bassist Ronnie Mancuso, who also co-produced the record with Lee. The first single from the album Deceived is also the opening cut, from the moment this track starts you get very excited about what may unfold over the course of the next 45 minutes. The track has a great 80s style riff and feel about it and I am convinced this had to be somewhere in storage from his Ozzy days. The same might also be said for War Machine, drawing heavily on a classic Black Sabbath sound, Shout It Out is a solid rocker with a catchy chorus while Fall From The Sky (Seagull) has a psychedelic almost Stone Temple Pilots sound about it and then there is the two and a half minute piano instrumental Exquisite Tenderness, just for something different.

The album features guest vocals on several tracks such as Feeder sung by legendary Cheap Trick frontman Robin Zander. I’ve been a Cheap Trick fan for decades so I am very familiar with his style and presence and on this particular track Zander delivers in spades. Original Iron Maiden vocalist Paul Di’Anno features on the track Wasted, again, a long time Iron maiden fan, I thought Di’Anno actually sounded better on this track than he did on the Maiden albums he recorded, there appeared to be a maturity to his voice I had not heard before. Maria Brink from In This Moment lends her voice to the track Big Mouth, this was the only track on the album I didn’t enjoy, the track overall had a In This Moment feel about it and since I’ve never been a fan of theirs didn’t find much value here. Sass Jordan is the last guest vocalist on Redeem Me, this was a good track, kind of a hard rock version of Janice Joplin I thought.

All in all I found this to be a very enjoyable collection of songs which I thought capture a variety of hard rock/metal styles. I am very much looking forward to see what Jake E. Lee’s Red Dragon Cartel can deliver in the future, watch this space, I think it will be worth it.


Categories: Album Reviews

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