As a young guitar player three of the biggest influences on me were Ozzy Osborne’s guitarists Randy Rhoads, Zakk Wylde and Jake E. Lee. Randy had passed but you could still read about him in every guitar magazine, Zakk was Ozzy’s guitarist at the time, so he was and still pops up everywhere, but arguably the best of the three was Jake E. Lee and he just seemed to disappear (I spent my teens in the 90’s). When he popped on “That Metal Show” last year I was excited to hear his new music.
Well I got his new music and that excitement paid off. Jake’s new band Red Dragon Cartel is awesome. As soon as I hit play on the opening track “Deceived” I was satisfied. That opening riff is reminiscent of “Bark on the Moon,” but dare I say it’s a better song. I’ve reviewed a lot of albums over the years and whenever I get a band that blues 80’s sound I always call it a breath of fresh air and I mean it, but this time it’s more than that. There are classic 80’s metal riffs, but Red Dragon Cartel holds up with any metal bands out there today.
I think my favorite track is “Shout it Out.” The song has a grove that even as I sit in my office listening to it I can’t help but move a little bit to it. I can hear this song being a bad ass live song. The chorus just cries for audience participation. Similar to the solo album Slash did a few years back this album is very eclectic. It’s melodic, heavy, sexy, and dangerous. It’s got everything a rock fan would want. This is an album where you don’t need to skip over songs to get to the good songs.
My favorite songs on the album are “Deceived,” “Shout it Out,” “Wasted,” “Slave,” and “Big Mouth” featuring Maria Brink. “Big Mouth” could be an In This Moment song. I love Maria’s voice and her cadence, but what makes this song is Jake E. Lee noodling in the background over the chorus. It’s gives an already great song a little bit more musical depth. I can’t get enough of this song.
You can’t forget about “War Machine.” Lee’s not trying to distance himself from Ozzy and I really appreciate that about him. He’s had a great career, but he’ll always be associated with Ozzy in some fashion. With “War Machine” he embraces that with a Black Sabbath tribute to “War Pigs.” Jake E. Lee is back and I can’t recommend picking this album up enough.
Bob Zerull is the Managing Editor of Zoiks! Online. He writes pop culture commentary, does interviews with bands, and reviews music and stand-up concerts. He also administers Zoiks! Online's Facebook page. Follow Bob on twitter at bzerull. Email Bob at firstname.lastname@example.org.