A mixture of Rik Emmett’s touring band in the new guise of RESolution9, plus the additions of legendary guitarist Alex Lifeson of Rush and Dream Theater front man James LaBrie, makes the album RES 9 something of a force of nature on tornado proportions.
Bundles of slick, powerhouse guitar, a thumping bass and drum line and vocals that drip control, this is an album that demands to be played loud with the windows open or, indeed, the roof all the way down.
Emmett himself has never sounded better and along with Dave Dunlop on guitar, Steve Skingley on bass and Paul De Long on drums, RES9 becomes an untamed animal at times. Stand Still sets the bar at a height few others could dream of scaling, yet time and again this does. My Cathedral is quite simply a work of art. Its cool beginnings, evolving and shifting and changing so that the full emotional overload drives forward to ultimately climax in a plethora of sparks.
When You Were My Baby drops the tone but still – thanks to its funk-infested rhythms and skilled construction – invigorates to the extent where I defy your feet not to move in time with its beat. Superb too is Heads Up; an out-and-out rocker in the early Eagles mode, its catchy riffs and easy-feeling optimism defying the need to sit still.
Okay, the inclusion of the ridiculous Sweet Tooth may cast a wee bit of a shadow across what is otherwise a fully superb collective. Yet for this error, there are redeemers such as Rest Of My Life and Grand Parade – featuring Triumph stalwarts Gil Moore and Mike Levine with Emmett – which rounds things off beautifully with the closing bonus track.
That Lifeson and LaBrie add stacks to the tracks on which they appear is unquestionable. End of the Line, the strongest track here, is everything any rock purist will drool over. Lifeson is clearly having an absolute ball and LaBrie and Emmett gel magnificently on the vocals. A tour de force of a tune that simply rips through from start to finish, leaving the listener somewhat exhausted by its skilled delivery.
But this album is so much more than the qualities of the guests. RES9 is a superbly crafted rock album, guaranteed to cast old light through new windows and bring its composer yet more well deserved acclaim.
Rik Emmett & Resolution 9
Audio CD (11 Nov. 2016)
Number of Discs: 1
Label: PROVOGUE RECORDS
Human Race (Feat. Alex Lifeson)
I Sing (Feat. James LaBrie)
The Ghost of Shadow Town
When You Were My Baby
Rest of My Life
End of the Line (Feat. Alex Lifeson & James LaBrie)
Grand Parade (Feat. Gil Moore & Mike Levine)