It has been nearly 20 years since Jake E Lee (Ex Ozzy, Badlands) has released anything as high profile as Red Dragon Cartel. He quietly disappeared from the limelight as Badlands more or less imploded when Ray Gillen left in 1991. Since then all has been quiet. The press and fans alike have welcomed Jake back with open arms and like everyone else I was excited to hear new music from this great guitarist.
The first track “Deceived” starts with the very distinctive sound of Jake’s style with a song that is upbeat with an anthemic chorus.
“Shout it Out” is the first switch in direction and references bands like Disturbed and early Filter. It sounds like the album has been written over a long period of time and each song is influenced by its corresponding writing period. This isn’t a bad thing and demonstrates Jake’s ability to move with the times and not stagnate.
Red Dragon Cartel also features various guest appearances from some of music’s most notable faces including legendary Cheap Trick vocalist Robin Zander, original Iron Maiden vocalist Paul Di’Anno, Kill Devil Hill/Pantera bassist Rex Brown, Slash’s Conspirators Todd Kearns and Brent Fitz and In This Moment front woman Maria Brink.
“Big Mouth” features ‘In This Moment’ singer Maria Brink on vocals, as she is the only female vocalist, it can’t really fail to stand out, while the Zander track “Feeder” has a modern gusto to it – with some tasty solo work from Jake and a memorable hook in the chorus.
“War Machine” is a great stomp of a track with a heavy beat with the crush factor of Sabbath making it one of the standout tracks on the record. However the Guest that really stands out here is Sass Jordan, who sounds like a young Tina Turner, which gives the track “Redeem Me” a solid FM radio rocker feel. Ending the album is a quiet piano piece which tails of with the unspoken message wait until next time.
It is fantastic to see Jake back; The production is big and bold as one would expect at this level and is an excellent album packed full of great hard rock songs.
The album will be released on 27th January 2014 on Frontiers records.
Jake E. Lee – Guitars
Darren James Smith – Vocals
Jonas Fairley – Drums
Ronnie Mancuso – Bass
2. Shout It Out
3. Feeder (featuring Robin Zander of Cheap Trick)
4. Fall From The Sky
5. Wasted (With Paul DiAnno)
7. Big Mouth (featuring Maria Brink of In This Moment)
8. War Machine
9. Redeem Me (with Sass Jordan)
10. Exquisite Tenderness