Frontiers [release date 24.10.18]
“Patina’ is the newly released sophomore album from Red Dragon Cartel, the band formed around one time Qzzy Osbourne and Badlands guitarist Jake E Lee. As soon as the needle dropped (metaphorically, of course) I wanted to say that it picked up where it’s 2014 predecessor left off, but once you get in there this is not really the case. The album has a more “together” feeling to it, no doubt this is down to singer Darren James Smith as the self-titled debut featured a host of guest vocalists on each song and so had more of a disjointed feel to it. The song writing too has a more consistent feel and style this time around as this more stable line-up appears to have gelled musically.
The danger when a well know guitarist puts a project like this together is that it tends to become a showcase for their playing skills, however, that is not the case here and this is no doubt helped by the fact that the album was co-produced by bass player Anthony Esposito who worked with Lee on this. That said, the album has a couple of tracks that are a little bass heavy, but that is not necessarily a bad thing.
Weighing in at only 9 tracks. “Patina” has something for everyone, the underlying bluesy swagger of “Havana”, the funk feel of “Bitter” or “The Luxury Of Breathing“with is touches of Led Zep. “Crooked Man” is, dare I say it, Ozzy like, whilst “Speedbag” and “Ink & Water” are my favourite tracks on the album.
Red Dragon Cartel have a run of US dates booked for early 2019 and here’s hoping that some European dates will follow, the previous live line-up of the band was becoming rocks revolving door at one point but hopefully this new incarnation will have more of a lasting impact. ****
Review by Nikk Gunns
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