Name me a Russian hard rock band. Go on. Gorky Park. OK, there’s one. Try another. Try counting them off on the fingers of one hand. Tough, isn’t it? While evil western rock ‘n’ roll music was banned under the communist regime, even in the post-Glasnost era very few bands have managed to break out of Russia and make an impact on the previously “outside” world. Well, all that could be about to change…
Reds’Cool first made an impression on audiences in this part of the planet we call Mosh – and not least on PM’s very own queen of darkness – when they toured with UFO earlier this year. And now they look set to cement their place in UK fans’ hearts with this damn fine second album, recorded last year with the legendary Michael Wagener (best known for his work with the likes of Dokken, Accept, Mötley Crüe, Great White, Metallica, Alice Cooper, W.A.S.P., Poison, Stryper, White Lion and about a zillion other classic bands) and now been given a deserved global release.
Due to a badly timed dose of the lurgy, I was unlucky to miss the aforementioned UFO tour when it pulled into my local pub, but as soon as the opening chords of ‘Dangerous One’ kick in it is not hard to see how good a fit Reds’Cool were, as the St Peterburg quartet are very much steeped in the classic British rock vibe, with just the right tinge of sleaze, especially in Slava Aleksanov’s deep, rich vocals. The guitars of Ilja Smirnov and Sergei Fedotov possess plenty of crunch, and the duo produce an impressive series of harmonic interplays and melodies across all of the album’s nine tracks, while the rhythm section of Dima Pronin and Andrey Kruglov are suitably tight, with both producing some neat and subtle fills in between the riffs and leading into the bridge sections of the likes of ‘Strangers Eyes’.
‘Press Hard’ has one foot very firmly planted in the 1980s – hell, even the artwork references that era – but there is a freshness and vigour to it which makes it more than a mere homage but an album which is vibrant, relevant and entertaining.
Dangerous One / My Way / The Way I Am / Brand New Start / Strangers Eyes / Call Me / One Night / Love Behind / No More
Brand New Start
‘Press Hard’ is released via RS Records/SPV on August 28.