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13.11.2018

RED DRAGON CARTEL

Patina

Anmeldt av Jens Nepper
(Frontiers, 2018)

Karakter: 5/6

Red Dragon Cartel album cover.png
Red Dragon Cartel's self-titled debut album rocked my world (and still does), and so naturally, I was quite excited about this sophomore effort of theirs entitled "Patina". Fortunately, these guys did not let me down and the ten tracks that constitute this record are riveting rockers that cover a lot of interesting musical ground. With an excellent line-up consisting of the legendary Jake E. Lee (Badlands, ex-Ozzy Osbourne) on guitars, Anthony Esposito (ex-Lynch Mob) on bass, Phil Varone (ex-Saigon Kick, Skid Row) on drums, and the talented vocalist Darren Smith (Harem Scarem), it should come as no surprise that this 2018 output of theirs is filled with enthusiasm, skill, and attitude. In many ways, it brings to mind some of the great (hard) rock acts of the 70s and 80s, but Red Dragon Cartel have a modern edge to them that makes it all sound somewhat timeless, which is obviously a huge compliment.

Lee's energetic and brilliant playing is as exceptional and fiery as ever and the song material is stronger and more confident than that of the debut offering. The arrangements are better this time around and the dynamic production suits the diverse tunes perfectly. Do I really need to point out just how exceptionally cool the musicianship? I mean, you saw the line-up I listed earlier on, right?

Many of the compositions are soaked in atmosphere, which is what makes them so great. There is both depth and substance to compelling cuts such as "Havana", "The Luxury of Breathing", and "Chasing Ghosts". The bluesy "Ink & Water" is a superb piece of work that simply reeks of passion all the way through and it serves as the perfect album closer.

Red Dragon Cartel undoubtedly have a sound and a musical identity of their own thanks in large part to Lee's charismatic playing as well as his unique way of crafting riffs and melodies, and in the overall perspective, "Patina" comes across as more cohesive and confident than its predecessor. I can well imagine that many of these songs will go down a storm in a live setting in the future. Simply put, this is a great slab of kick-ass rock 'n' roll.


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