Album review: BLOOD RED SAINTS- Undisputed


Frontiers Records (Release Date 06.08.21)

Blood Red Saints’ fourth album sees them come full circle, not only with a return to Frontiers  Records, but to the style of their impressive debut album before exploring a more guitar dominated and modern direction on the two subsequent efforts.

Opener ‘This Ain’t a Love Song’ is actually  somewhat atypical of the album: it has a lively riff with an almost brassy feel and a great guitar solo from Lee Revill, but the salacious Danger Danger-like lyrics sit uneasily with the dapperly dressed middle-aged chaps in the band photo.

‘Love and War’ is a great piece of Brit AOR, reminding me of FM or Pride, and with a great mix of prominent (uncredited) keyboards and crisply clean guitar solos. It is almost glorious, but Pete Godfrey’s voice is submerged on a rather messy chorus arrangement.

Unfortunately it’s the first sign of the limitations of producing the album themselves, and the vocals are again rather buried on the superb  ‘Heaven in the Highlights’, which from its piano intro onwards has a strong Journey vibe, and this is even more the case on his husky, Jon Bon Jovi-esque delivery of the verses to ‘Breathe Again’.

The return to a more AOR direction is confirmed with ‘Caught In the Wreckage’ with a good chorus with voices stacked in harmony, and ‘Karma’, reminding me of Virginia Wolf and with one of Lee’s many fine solos.  ‘Come Alive’ is an upbeat and summery anthem – drawing inspiration from the likes of Blue Tears  ‘Rockin on the Radio’- but again the lack of a big budget production means its full potential is not realised.

The title track has a boxing theme (not their only sporting analogy as they were originally named after a speedway team) and initially struggles to gel but eventually builds momentum. The verses of ballad ‘Complete’ have less going on and therefore show off Pete’s classic AOR voice, while the album closer, ‘All I Wanna Do’,  at a slower tempo  with some big backing vocals, fills the role ‘Love and Affection’ did on Hysteria.

In a nice touch  the album is dedicated to the memory of Dean Buckley, a universally-loved character of the British melodic rock scene. In the main it is a welcome return to form, but in a genre that relies heavily on big budget production values, those limitations stand out so the album, while a major grower, falls tantalisingly short of classic status.    *** 3/4

Review by Andy Nathan

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Power Plays w/c 10 January (Mon-Fri)
SMOKING MARTHA Wild & Free (Xelon Entertainment)
TRUE NORTH Fix (Out Of Line Music)
COLLECTED Say When (indie)
ABOUT KINGS Heaven On Down The Highway (indie)
WHALEDOG Leave Me Alone (indie)
LED BY LANTERNS Six Feet Down (indie)
KROOKED TONGUE Freaky Love (indie)

Featured Albums w/c 10 January (Mon-Fri)
09:00-12:00 BITE THE BULLET End Of The Line (Escape Music)
12:00-13:00 CRYSTAL BALL Crysteria (Massacre Records)
14:00-16:00 SEAN TAYLOR The Beat Goes On (indie)

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