The all-star band formerly known as Trial By Fire have now settled on the name Renegade Creation and got round to releasing their debut album. The various members of Renegade Creation have been performing together in various bands since way back in the seventies, so they don't have any trouble finding a groove to lock into. With Michael Landau and Robben Ford on guitars, there's certainly no shortage of instrumental prowess. Jimmy Haslip on bass and Gary Novak on drums are no slouches, either, so musically it's almost flawless.
However, the album falls short of masterpiece status for a couple of reasons. Minor ones, to be sure, but it's well to flag them up. With the vocals split evenly between Mr Ford and Mr Landau, it does come over as a bit schizophrenic, especially as the writing is divided in a similar fashion with each guitarist singing his own songs. So it seems less like a band, and more like a split album.
That aside, there are some marvellous performances on offer here. The opener. 'What's Up', is an uptempo introduction to the album with some excellent lead guitar from Michael Landau. 'God And Rock n' Roll', a Ford / Haslip co-write is a fiery rocker that sees Robben Ford and Landau having a bit of a guitar shoot out, something that is a treat to hear. The bluesiest of the songs is probably the laid back, slow Blues of 'Destiny Over Me' that gives Robben Ford room to shine on lead. My particular favourite was the driving Mountain-like 'Renegade Destruction' which sees Mr Ford giving vent to his inner guitar hero.
There are also a couple of instrumentals, 'Peace', a Robben Ford number and the closing 'Brothers', from bassist Gary Novak, which sees the album shuffle off with some West Coast jazz. An odd closing for this record, even if all the participants have partaken of that genre over the years. It's a really enjoyable release, even if it doesn't quite hang together.