Copyright, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music

P(etty)L(ynne)A(ttack)GIARIZE

Anyone heard Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me”. I know it’s not a rock or metal song, however since July last year, thousands of YouTube clips came up where YouTube users mashed up “Stay With Me” with Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down” that was a co-write with Jeff Lynne from ELO and released back in 1989.

And to be honest I had no idea that Petty and Lynne went for royalties on this one, so when I came across the stories a few days ago about it, I have to admit I had a laugh.

I laughed first because both Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne as musicians have used a lot of blues standards and classical music respectively in their output.

I laughed because one of the greatest bands in the world Led Zeppelin plagiarized a shit load of folk and blues standards. Hell, their biggest song “Stairway To Heaven” was even plagiarized.

I laughed because one of the biggest bands in the world today, Metallica plagiarized a shit load of metal and skate metal bands for their biggest songs.

I laughed because the whole British rock invasion was a cultural movement based on plagiarizing the blues standards of the thirties to the fifties.

I laughed because Avenged Sevenfold released a great rock record that plagiarized a shit load of other bands from the Eighties and the Nineties.

I laughed because the whole concept of writing music is to copy something that came before it and to allow that to influence you.

I laughed because the copyright bullshit laws that Petty and his team used are there to protect songwriters from competitive works that diminished the original work. I can honestly say that Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me” in no way diminished Tom Petty’s “I Wont Back Down”. There is no way that people who like “Stay With Me” would neglect Tom Petty’s “I Wont Back Down”.

I laughed because the vocal melodies are both simple pentatonic sequences. The pentatonic scale is a five note scale that is a standard in rock and metal.

I laughed because Tom Petty when questioned about similarities between The Strokes “Last Nite” and Red Hot Chilli Peppers “Dani California” with Petty’s “American Girl” and “Mary Jane’s Last Dance” said that he doesn’t believe in court actions to fight over pop songs.

I laughed because one of the albums I have been listening to lately is the poster child for copying and what a fucking great album it is. That is Kingdom Come’s self-titled album.

I laughed because when it comes to music everything is loaded with so much emotion.

I laughed because all music is a derivative of what came before it.

I laughed because the reason WHY WE LIKE music is that it sounds like something familiar.

Standard
Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

George Lynch and Michael Sweet

George Lynch. As much as he probably despises it, he will always be known as the lead shredder for Dokken. Yep, his greatest claim to fame is under the surname of a person he doesn’t really like.

In guitar circles he is known for losing out to Randy Rhoads for the Ozzy gig, however he was good enough to take over from him at Musonia. Gene Simmons told Lynch once (during the Xciter days) that with a name like George Lynch he would never make it. I guess Simmons didn’t take into account the power of determination and perseverance.

In a roundabout way Lynch ended up with a record deal and recorded “Breaking The Chains” in Europe in 1981. He auditioned again for Ozzy after Randy’s passing however the job went to Jake E.Lee this time around. With nothing to lose, he had one more crack at the big time. With the addition of Jeff Pilson, a new formidable song writing team would be formed in Lynch, Pilson and Mick Brown.

What can’t be taken away from Lynch is that he is a man of many projects. If you want to survive in the music business you need to create. And that is what George Lynch does each year. He creates, plays live and creates some more and plays live again.

But the part that impresses me more is his foresight.

Back in the early two thousands he started “Guitar Dojo” an online guitar instructional course that was way ahead of its time. Hell, Skype and YouTube were not even around at all. Today, every artist has some lessons out there that they conduct via Skype or YouTube. And without knowing it, Lynch was finding different ways to connect with his fan base. The Guitar Dojo became a community that would end up seeing the guitar students turn up at shows, purchase merchandise and recordings.

He self-funded his “Kill All Control” album, which had the song “Son of Scary”. The band agreement in Dokken meant that they split up all the songs equally. “Mr Scary” an instrumental that Lynch wrote by himself was also split four ways. Back in the Eighties it was probably no big deal.

Fast forward to 2008/9 and “Guitar Hero” comes calling, wanting to use “Mr Scary” for the game. According to Lynch, Dokken had a problem with it and he made Guitar Hero’s legal department very uncomfortable. In order to work around this problem, Lynch re-wrote the song on a 7 string and called it “Son Of Scary”. In the end “Guitar Hero” didn’t end up using the track.

He also released “Sun Red Sun” that is a record he started more than two years ago with the last incarnation of the band. On top of that he is also just finishing up the music for another new Lynch Mob record that will be coming out next spring. This version of the band has Jeff Pilson on bass, Brian Tichy on drums along with Oni Logan on vocals. Lynch also has the Shadow Nation documentary and Shadow Train band project to come in 2015.

Which brings me to the purpose of this post!

There is no doubt that George Lynch is a wonderful talent. As good as he is, he doesn’t sing and for that you need a vocalist that is also talented in writing great vocal melodies. And he found that vocalist in Michael Sweet, who is another musician that is also creating and working non-stop.

Check out Michael Sweet’s output since 2005.

2005: Stryper – Reborn
2006: Michael Sweet – Him
2007: Michael Sweet – Touched
2007: Stryper – Live In Puerto Rico
2007: Stryper – The Roxx Regime Demos
2008: Boston Tour
2009: Stryper – Murder By Pride
2011: Stryper – The Covering
2013: Stryper – Second Coming
2013: Stryper – No More Hell To Pay
2014: Michael Sweet – I’m Not Your Suicide
2014: Stryper – Live At The Whisky
2015: Sweet & Lynch – Only To Rise

And that is what I am doing right now. I am listening to the Sweet and Lynch album “Only To Rise”.

From all of his projects since Lynch Mob’s second album, this is the best one by far. Michael Sweet as always delivers a killer vocal performance and in some cases, his melodies take pedestrian songs into a whole new stratosphere. “Recover” is one example. The intro and verses are okay, but when that chorus crashes down around the ear drums and Sweet’s glass shattering vocals hit the spot, all bets are off. The album has got twelve songs, however nine songs would have made a perfect album.

The Wish
This song is the star of the album. That chorus vocal melody and the guitar melody under it are brilliant.

“Girl I want to love you just like Hollywood
Like a New York Times best-selling fairy tale
A knight in shining armour who’s defending you
The wish within your well”

Dying Rose
Michael Sweet mentioned in an interview that he asked George Lynch to give him music with a Dokken vibe/feel like “The Hunter” (track number 2 from the Under Lock and Key album). That song ended up being “Dying Rose”.

Lynch further stated in a Guitar World interview that “Dying Rose,” has a “country-esque, Nashville element to it. It’s a beautiful melody and chorus with a nice hook.”

Love Stays
Michael Sweet mentioned that “Love Stays” is one of his favourites. He likes the vibe, the feel, the drum groove and just the way it sounds. The funny thing is that they are all the bits I dig as well.

As soon as that guitar riff comes in to start the song, I knew I was listening to something special especially when it transitions into a Beatles/ELO “Mr Blue Sky” bridge. Overall, the song could have come from the Max Martin stable of pop rock songs. Give it to any pop star of the week and watch it rise.

Time Will Tell
It reminds me of a band that is a huge influence on me musically and that band is Y&T.

Rescue Me
I read that Michael Sweet asked Lynch to give him something a little Journey-ish. The reply was a bunch of riffs titled “Bad Journey”. It might have that old-school Journey vibe however it’s got that Led Zep/Bad Company blues rock vibe as well.

Me Without You
The way the guitar transitions between chords reminds me of Michael Schenker for some reason. I really dig this song. The intro and the vocal melody are just brilliant. Haunting even.

Recover
One of the best rock/metal songs I have heard in a while. When that chorus crashes down around the ear drums and Sweet’s glass shattering vocals hit the spot, all bets are off.

September
I’ve read some comments and reviews that mention it’s hard not to think of Iron Maiden’s “Wasted Years” during the intro and choruses of “September”.

Only To Rise
This song is the “Hey, dude. Give me something that’s a little Van Halen-ey.” And it sure is.

The whole album is an example of the progress is derivative model.

Standard
A to Z of Making It, Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Copyright, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

Dokken, Motley Crue and Ratt. More examples of the Progress Is Derivative Model

This isn’t a story about who ripped off who. To me those arguments are irrelevant as I am a great believer in the “progress is derivative” principle which is that all artists take a little bit of what came before and create something that to them is original.

It’s funny how you can have three songs that have pretty similar main riffs however each song has a totally different reach and impact with the audience.

Listen to “Young Girls” from Dokken’s first album “Breaking The Chains” and then listen to “Looks That Kill” from Motley Crue.

Now ask yourself the following question;

Do the opening riffs sound very similar?

If you answered YES then read the below, however if you answered NO then go back and repeat the above exercise until you hear that they do sound very similar.

Now listen to “Tell The World” from RATT.

Does the opening riff also sound similar albeit with a few small variations?

If you answered YES then read the below, however if you answered NO then go back and repeat the above exercise.

Musically, the three songs have a definitive riff that is very similar. However, one song is clearly forgotten, one song is considered a classic and the other one is a fan favourite.

The Dokken song was destined for the scrap heap just by the song title alone. Add to that some really crap lyrics, plus a really lazy uninspired vocal melody from Don Dokken and you have a disaster of mass distortion regardless of how good the bed of music is from Lynch. This is a perfect example of how good musicianship doesn’t shine due to bad lyrics.

In sports you are as strong as your weakest link and in this case the weakest link was the song title and the lyrics/vocal melodies.

Then you have the Motley Crue version that has lyrics drenched in sleaze, attitude and danger. The vocal melodies are simple with three or four syllable phrases, clustered together and barked out with venom. Add to that a song title that screams attention. Without even taking into account the video clip images and what not, “Looks That Kill” is far superior because of the way Nikki Sixx phrases his vocal melodies.

Then you have the Ratt’s “Tell The World”. Stephen Pearcy lived the L.A lifestyle. He immersed himself in the scene, along with his San Diego cohort Robin Crosby.

The main drivers behind all three songs are George Lynch, Don Dokken, Nikki Sixx, Robin Crosby and Stephen Pearcy. George Lynch was a constant L.A performer towards the late seventies and early eighties. Nikki Sixx and Robin Crosby would go on to be best friends. Both were consistent performers on the L.A scene. Stephen Pearcy was also a constant on that scene.

The music in these songs is not about who ripped off who. It is about how the sound of the L.A scene influenced all of the musicians involved.

In a nutshell playing two open string pedal points and then a power chord straight after was pretty basic Hard Rock/Metal 101.

This type of playing was very synonymous with bands like Judas Priest, UFO (Michael Schenker) and Scorpions.

In the U.S, you had the mighty Ted Nugent pushing out songs with definitive riffs based around open pedal points and power chords. Check out “Stranglehold”.

If you want to see that type of figure on steroids and totally original, check out the Randy Rhoads opening riff in “Steal Away The Night” . Rhoads starts it off with two open notes and then an inversion of a power chord. Then instead of doing two more open E’s he plays the B and A notes in lieu of the two open E’s.

In the end, as humans we are a sum of our influences and our cultures. The L.A scene was a culture based around a decadent lifestyle. In between all of that, the bands involved ended up crafting some great tunes along the way.

Standard
Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

Dr Feelgood

Dr Feelgood had to be number 1. It was a million dollar blockbuster and the mythology around Motley Crue by 1989 supported and underpinned this blockbuster movie. The drug overdoses, the return from death, the crashed cars, the women, the drugs, the partying, the clashes with the law and the eventual “sobriety”.

You see when I was young, Dee Snider was the leader who told us to not take the crap of institutions. But it was Motley Crue that told me to smoke in the boy’s room. It was the Crue that told me to take my fists and break down the walls. It was the Crue that told me to shout at the devil and at the time “the devil” was the teachers and institutions that wanted to control me.

I would argue black and blue that “Dr Feelgood” was the greatest album ever recorded. But the truth is it was one of the better records from 1989.

It is their first album with Bob Rock, who Nikki found via Ian Astbury from “The Cult”. Remember that music is a relationship business. That is how we are meant to roll. It was recorded in Canada at Little Mountain Studios at the same time that Aerosmith was recording “Pump”. Both of the biggest party bands had committed to a healthy lifestyle, going on jogs together.

Every fan of the band could relate to “Kick Start My Heart”. Hell, every fan of music could relate to that song, and when you add the true story of Nikki’s heroin overdose to it, the mythology behind the song just keeps on growing and you get a timeless classic. A blockbuster of a song.

And Nikki Sixx has a great knack for doing tongue in cheek break up songs.

“Same Ol Situation” is about losing your girl to another girl. What a classic twist.

“Don’t Go Away Mad, Just Go Away” is pretty self-explanatory. It’s a Nikki Sixx composition where the Chorus acts as the crescendo. Hell, the Chorus doesn’t even come in until the 2 minute mark.

Then you have the usual “Sticky Sweet”, “She Goes Down”, “Slice Of Your Pie” and “Rattlesnake Shake”. We all know what the message is that the Crue wanted to put out on those songs. But what about all of the progress is derivative influences.

“Sticky Sweet” has a main riff that is reminiscent to “The Wanton Song” by Led Zeppelin. “Rattlesnake Shake” makes a nod to “Rock N Roll Hoochie Koo” from Rick Derringer in the verses and “Funk #49” from The James Gang in the Chorus. While “Slice Of Your Pie” has a big nod to “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” from The Beatles.

“Without You” was written about Tommy Lee and Heather Locklear’s relationship from the point of view that Tommy Lee could not live without Heather. Well, I guess that song know has a different view-point and a real tacky clip to boot.

“Time For Change” is the Crue attempting to address social norms. Listen and you will hear the melody from Mott The Hoople’s “All The Young Dudes” near the end of Mick Mars solo.

But the piece de resistance is “Dr Feelgood”. Musically, it is a Mick Mars composition, that he had completely mapped out on his own. He had to take the song to the band a few times before they started to pay attention to it and it was the song that started the ball rolling with Bob Rock, after the band sent him a demo.

Sonically, its heavy and pleasing on the ear drums. Hell, there is a lot of guitar happening throughout the album. And what about the groove. When you add lyrics that deal with a drug boss called Dr Feelgood, you more or less have the basis to create a comic book character from the song lyrics. Descriptive all the way down to the type of car with primed flames.

Can you imagine Vince Neil singing for a whole day and only having one line of a lyric that was deemed usable. Yep, that was the standard set by Bob Rock. Of course a million dollar budget didn’t hurt. And didn’t they come a long way from the seven days recording session for “Too Fast For Love”. Yep, album number five left no loose ends.

“Dr Feelgood” set a new standard for hard rock and a lot of the bands like Dokken, Great White, Firehouse, Poison, Ratt and so many others just didn’t take that next step. And of course, shortly after the album was released, Metallica went to Bob Rock and said that they want their own “Dr Feelgood”. We all know how that turned out.

Standard
Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

Gun: Daringly Release A Classic Rock Album called Gallus in 1992.

It’s 1992 and the only terms on people’s lips are Metallica, Guns N Roses, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Grunge, Seattle, Vince Neil leaving/fired from Motley Crue and Mr Big.

And then you have this rock band from Scotland called GUN releasing a straight-ahead hard rock album that had more roots in the Seventies era than the dying Eighties era.

Other acts from the late eighties that released an album or two, either called it a day or tweaked their sound to be more “grunge-like”.

With an album cover featuring, Benny Lynch, who was Scotland’s first boxing World Champion and who also remained undefeated throughout his career, “Gallus” was a defiant record. Serving as Gun’s second album, they let the music do the talking. The lyrical themes didn’t stray too much from the debut and like its predecessor, it is loaded with a shitload of attitude and energy. By not adopting certain American Glam looks, instead focusing on a general functional casual dress sense, also helped the band survive the big cull.

When the Rock’N’Roll history is written by the Whiggish winners, Gun will be relegated to a mere footnote. But their presence at a time when everyone was selling out to become mainstream darlings was a welcomed relief.

“Steal Your Fire”

It’s got this “AC/DC” meets “The Cult” attitude in the verse and chorus, while the Pre-Chorus has this INXS vibe. It’s a blend of rock’n’roll that is so distant from the LA Glam Rock scene however I love that Dokken “It’s Not Love” vibe after the solo section.

(You better listen to me while you can)
I’m sick of this world and it’s greed for gold
(It can never be the same again)
I’m sick and tired of being bought and sold
(There’s nothing left I’ve taken everything)
Life’s a gamble, nothing’s sure
(Why don’t you face it you can never win)
I can see it for the first time

Sounds like the recording business right there.

Greed came from the high profit margins that the CD was bringing in. Remember when CD’s came into effect the record labels explained that the high prices had to do with the start up costs of getting the CD warehouses and machinery operational and in time the prices would reduce.

Yep they sure didn’t.

“Money To Burn”

I love the “When The Levee Breaks” groove in this song. Progress is derivative is the catch cry.

“Some people lie for it, some people die for it,
Some people risk their lives and do time for it”

The real message coming out in 1991 and 1992 was the same. Skid Row said that we can’t be kings of the world if we are slaves to the grind. And why are we slaves to the grind. Because we were led to believe that we need money.

Metallica said that new blood is quickly subdued, learning the rules of life the hard way. Why are newborns disciplined this way? It’s because they need to learn that money rules the game.

Gun was saying that we shouldn’t focus too much on the attainment of money, as it is just there, purely to be spent (aka burnt).

(In the end all we are)
Is just a face in a crowded street
(In the end all we are)
Is just a soul on the open road
(In the end all we are)
Is just a pawn in a losing game
(In the end all we are)
One world that’s got money to burn

Aint nobody said it any better than that. In the end, it doesn’t matter how many dollars or zeroes sit in a persons bank account. Money is there to be earned and lost. When judgement happens, we are all just faces in the crowd.

“Long Road”

The tone of the vocals just resonate. It’s got that powerful “Jeff Martin/Tea Party” kind of tone vocally and the music is very melodic, like Def Leppard.

And I say life is like a long road
With open arms we walk this long road

“Welcome to the Real World”

“I see the poor man left with nothing, the rich man wanting more
And I ask myself a question, saying “What the hell are we living for?”

Again, the catch cry of the early nineties. Australia was coming out of Recession at this time and I tell ya, it was tough. My dad still held onto his job at BHP Steel, however my brother didn’t and it was my brother who had a mortgage to pay off when the interest rate hit over 15%.

With the expectations placed onto the band after the cult like success of “Taking On The World”, “Gallus” didn’t really break through like the record label hoped and it more or less sank like a stone until the success of their next album, “Swagger” got people re-interested in “Gallus”. Adding to the disruption, was the constant line up changes.

“Taking On the World” from 1989 had the following credited lineup;

Mark Rankin on vocals, Guliano Gizzi on guitar, Stephen “Baby” Stafford on guitar, Dante Gizzi on bass and Scott Shields on drums.

By 1990, the line up changed with Stafford out and Dickson in. This line up would go on to record the “Gallus” album.

Mark Rankin on vocals, Guliano Gizzi on guitar, Alex Dickson on guitar, Dante Gizzi on bass and Scott Shields on drums.

And it would change again. But that story is for another day.

Standard
A to Z of Making It, Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, Unsung Heroes

Gene The Werewolf

I just heard the “Rock N Roll Animal” album.

I dig it and I know nothing about them. That is the modern day business model. Back in the Eighties, we got the press releases, the interviews, the promo spots and the musicians appeared larger than life. Today, we just get the music first and then we go back to investigate who the hell created it.

If you are into hard rock, then this is the album for you. If you grew up in the Seventies and enjoyed the British Rock Invasion, then this is the album for you. If you loved what Badlands, Mr Big, Richie Sambora and Lynch Mob did in the late eighties and early nineties then you will love this album as well.

“Wicked Love” channels Led Zeppelin.

“I Only Wanna Rock N Roll” channels AC/DC in a “Long Way To The Top (If You Want To The Rock N Roll)” and “You Shook Me All Night Long” kind of vibe.

“Superhero” reminds me of Kiss seventies era and it’s roots go back to 2009.

“Heart Of Steel” reminds me “Jessies Girl” by Rick Springfield and “Fantasy” from Aldo Nova. Add onto that The Darkness and their break out hit “I Believe In A Thing Called Love”.

“Rock N Roll Animal” has that AC/DC vibe (which is heard across the whole album) however this time it is merged with some vocal melodies from “Bad Medicine” by Bon Jovi and some cool honky-tonk piano.

“I’ve Got The Love” has this Free “All Right Now”, Kiss “Deuce” and Rolling Stones “Start Me Up” vibe. Hell, chuck in “I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead” from Bon Jovi as that song borrows from all.

“Ruffneck Woman” has this Aerosmith meets AC/DC vibe.

“Light Me Up” has this “Kings and Queens” by Aerosmith vibe. The harmony lead break sounds perfect.

“Firecracker” brings back the AC/DC vibe again.

“Give It Up” has this melodic rock vibe that I just can’t put my finger on right now.

“The Ballad Of Gene” reminds me of The Beatles (Let It Be), David Bowie (All The Young Dudes and Ziggy era), Aerosmith (Dream On and Livin On The Edge) and Train (Drops Of Jupiter).

Each song has an arena style chorus and by doing that all songs will translate well into the live show and that is what it is all about. How good are you going to rock live?

The whole album is an example of progress being derivative.

Taking your influences, blending them and the output is your style and your sound. That is what music is all about. The whole album reminds me of “The Night Flight Orchestra” project. It is a fun album to listen to.

I did some searches on Google for them.

Of course they are on Frontiers Records, who seem to be on a roll surrounding themselves with talent. At first hearing, I thought the band came from Sweden as most of the hard rock bands I have been getting into are from there. However, that is not the case. They are from Pittsburgh, USA.

It is the usual lifer story.

All of the members had done time in previous semi-successful bands from the Pittsburgh area. Some of those bands toured nationally and internationally. There is a lot of history there. A super group from Pittsburgh area bands. In a way like “Night Ranger”. A super group of Californian bands.

And it doesn’t end just there.

Another Pittsburgh native, Reb Beach from Winger/Whitesnake has “The Reb Beach Project” band happening and of course, Jon Belin (aka Gene The Werewolf) is singing all the Winger/Whitesnake songs like a pro.

Also another classic touch is the re-use of songs. The current music business is littered with bands releasing new music constantly. There is a very good chance that a lot of those songs just don’t get heard. It’s not because they are bad songs, it’s just there are too many songs out there and so little time.

The first EP released in 2009, had the songs “Superhero”, “Light Me Up”, “I’ve Got The Love” and “Make Love” that all ended up on the “Rock N Roll Animal” album.

Then the “Wicked Love” album that was released in 2011, had the songs “Wicked Love”, “I Only Wanna Rock N Roll”, “Heart Of Steel”, “Rock N Roll Animal”, “Ruffneck Woman”, “Firecracker”, “Give It Up” and “The Ballad Of Gene”.

So in 2012, all of those songs from 2009 to 2011 ended up on the “Rock N Roll Animal” album.

Because you know, traction comes much slower than expected. Even after a band has a deal. As the saying goes, it is all work with very little reward for a very long time. In other words, if you’re not prepared to be a lifer, then don’t be a musician. Because as soon as you open one door, another one looms large.

Standard
Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Piracy

Jake E. Lee

A lot of people don’t know who Jake E Lee is. Do a survey and you will see. US sales for week ending February 5, 2014 had Red Dragon Cartel listed with 5,300 sold. Put those 5,300 people down as the hard-core fans. The niche. Now what. What is the next step for the album? It didn’t show up on any of the sales charts the following week.

In my view, sales of recorded music is not a true measure of success anyway. People still cling to it because they do not know how to do anything else. To use an example from the indie scene, Lorde was a streaming star before she became a sales star and the darling of the PR run mainstream media. Spotify broke Lorde.

I quickly previewed the new album on Spotify. I gave each song 1 minute, just to get a feel for it. Then I went back to Jake E Lee’s recording history just to re-visit what he has accomplished and get a feel for it. And then I went back to the Red Dragon Cartel album and gave it multiple listens.

It is a good listen, however there isn’t really a song on the Red Dragon Cartel album that can market the album. This is a problem in a world that only has time for the best. When Jake E Lee joined Ozzy, “Bark At The Moon” marketed the album, while “Shot In The Dark” marketed “The Ultimate Sin” album. When Badlands released their self titled debut, “High Wire” was the song that marketed the album, while “The Last Time” marketed “Voodoo Highway”.

“Bark At The Moon” was the first piece of music that fans of heavy metal heard from Ozzy Osbourne after the death of Randy Rhoads. And what an opening riff. The same riff that if you look at the albums credits is supposedly written by Ozzy Osbourne with one finger on the piano. The lyrics are written by Bob Daisley. Ozzy’s contribution is the title and the vocal melodies.

So it is fitting that the opening track “Decieved” from Red Dragon Cartel has a riff, very similar in style and structure. So it is fitting that the vocal melodies are styled from the Ozzy Osbourne vocal phrasing book. I have no issue with artists referencing the past.

“Shout It Out” sounds like it belongs on a Saliva album. Not that it’s a bad thing, it just wasn’t what I was expecting from Jake E Lee. “War Machine” sounded like a joke to me, however it does fall into the “progress is derivative” theme. The “War Pigs” intro then moves over into “N.I.B”

“Fall From The Sky” has a solo that is very reminiscent to the “You’re No Different” outro solo from Jake’s Ozzy’s days and “Redeem Me” captures the Badlands vibe.

Unfortunately, the Robin Zander (Feeder), Maria Brink (Big Mouth) and Paul DiAnno (Wasted) vocal songs just don’t resonate.

If there is a song to comes close to being “the song”, well that honour goes to “Slave”. It has the best of Jake E Lee. Metallic riffing, fast single note picking, tritone melodic infusions and it encompasses what Jake E Lee is all about. However, behind every great guitarist there needs to be a great singer. In this case, Jake has a decent singer and in today’s cut throat music, decent doesn’t cut it. We only have time for great. If the band decides to release more music, the decent voice needs to be great.

Regardless it is great to see Jake E Lee back in a band setting. Welcome back.

Standard