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Legendary Jake E Lee returns from self imposed exile.
on 28 January 2014
I'm a huge Jake E Lee fan.Unlike many Ozzy Osbourne fans(& Ozzy & Sharon themselves),I thought Jake did a fabulous job following the late great Randy Rhoads.Jake & Randy are totally different style of guitarists & Ozzy knew this when he selected Jake.Randy Rhoads in my opinion REMAINS the greatest hard rock/heavy metal guitarist ever.No,Jake wasn't as good as Randy.No-one is ,that includes you Zakk/EVH/VAI/Yngwie & Slash.But that's just my opinion. All that said,again I'm in the minority,I preferred Jake's stuff in Badlands who were very underrated.Imagine a cross between Free & a bluesy Van Halen,with the amazing Ray Gillen R.I.P. on vocals.Alas it wasn't to be;changes in musical tastes/record company problems/grunge/and band in-fighting cost Badlands dearly,& they never achieved anything like they should have!Aside from the forgettable Re-Traced solo album & the odd guest appearance,RDC is Jake's first proper album since Badlands 'Dusk'. Red Dragon Cartel starts with fabulous up tempo rocker 'Decieved' which is similar to 'Bark at the Moon/Rock n Roll Rebel'.DJ Smith is RDC'S lead singer (but there are 'guest singers' on 4 tracks).Smith himself sounds like a mixture of Alice Cooper/Perry Farell/Jizzy Pearl & on 'War Machine', Ozzy Osbourne.'Shout it Out' too is quite good on further spins ,as is 'Feeder' sung by Cheap Trick's Robin Zander.Growers definitely.'Wasted'(sung by Paul Di'Anno,if you can call it singing) is dire,although the bluesy solo is good,but doesn't fit the song to these ears,anyway.This solo,is probably as close to Badlands as the album gets.'Big Mouth' too is monotonous pants,with a dull repetitive chorus. Overall,the album has a very heavy, very dark,contemporary sound to it almost,nu-metalish/buzz-saw like/industrialish/N.I.N-like back-beat rhythms,at times.With song titles such as 'Decieved,Wasted, Slave, War Machine & Redeem Me',tell they're own story.A happy,positive album this isn't.Credit to Sass Jordan,for the best vocal performance on the record for 'Reedem Me'.For me,she should've done the whole album! The album isn't helped by the 'executive production & mixing' techniques of Kevin Churko, the same Kevin Churko that 'soundwise' recently hampered Ozzy Osbourne's last album 'Scream'. As for Jake himself,there's some decent playing,but absolutely nothing that top's/equals what went before with Ozzy & Badlands.Some of his solo's sound decidely average for a player of Jake's genius.Don't get me wrong,guitar solo's aren't everything,but Jakes were always sharp & entertaining & had a beginning,middle & an end, & that could enhance album/filler tracks. His recent gigs of December 2013,show he's quite someway from his best,(which is understandable due to lengthy inactivity),but his appearance last year on Eddie Trunks 'That Metal Show' & NAMM 2014 show were not good by his amazing standards, & were really sloppy. If this is the best the rest of RDC & Kevin Churko can inspire Jake to come up with,then,sorry,after the tour Jake should abandon RDC,& RE-CONNECT with former bandmates such as Bob Daisley/Don Airey/Greg Chaisson/Tommy Aldridge/Carmine Appice/Phil Soussan or his old friends Warren De-Martini or Nikki Sixx.These calibre of named musicians will raise the bar & should inspire Jake to write & play nearer his true greatness.This album,unfortunately, really disappoints this Jake E Lee fan.3 stars.Only just!