Resurrrection KIngs

RESURRECTION KINGS – Resurrection Kings

Resurrection Kings coverSo, what to do when you’re in a band owned by a singer that tragically passes away? Well, most musicians starts over again and forms a new band. Then there are those who, after a few (and sometimes many, many) years decides to reform the old band without the old singer, that’s the guy who was the band in the first place. Like Thin Lizzy did. But after just one tour under the Lizzy moniker it was clear – and this everyone should know by now – that it was never a Thin Lizzy reunion, it was just some old members paying tribute to Philip Lynott and the music they made together. So they went on a few tours and played all those majestic songs for people who wanted to hear them and there are a lot of us out there. If you have a problem with them doing so, then go talk to somebody. Then there was Ronnie James Dio who so sadly left us all behind in 2010 and left a huge gap in the music and rock world. In 2012 some guys from the Dio camp decided that enough was enough and that Dio’s music should continue to be heard, so they formed the Dio Disciples – guitarist Craig Goldy and drummer Simon Wright got together with guys such as Björn Englen (bass) and singers such as Oni Logan and Tim “Ripper” Owens. But the whole point was just to play Dio’s music live and get whoever was free at the time to play, like Vinny Appice and Rowan Robertson – no real line-up, that is. Then there’s Last In Line, a band that consists of ex-Dio members Vivian Campbell (guitar), Vinny Appice (drums) and bassist Jimmy Bain, who sadly passed away just days before I started writing this review. For a while, keyboard player Claude Schnell was also involved, but has left the band. As a singer they have chosen unknown Andrew Freeman and the guys seems pretty serious about bringing this band out as a real band and not just some tribute act. The little I have heard of the band, I must say it sounds a lot like old Dio. The third Dio-related band that have arrived is called Resurrection Kings. formed by guitarist Craig Goldy (ex- Giuffria and Rough Cutt) who played on three Dio albums, Dream Evil (1987), Magica (2000) and Master Of The Moon (2004), none of them will go down in history as the strongest Ronnie James Dio ever put out and drummer Vinny Appice who was in the band from the start in 1983 to 1989 and 1993 – 1996, which means that he played on and helped writing the first three classic Dio albums. With them they have brought bassist Sean McNabb (Quiet Riot, Dokken, House Of Lords, Great White) and lead singer Chas West (Foreigner, Lynch Mob, Bonham, Red Dragon Cartel), a line-up that at least I think sound very promising. I wasn’t familiar with West before this, but I’m sure Goldy and Appice would never hire anyone without skills, so I had no doubts there. So, with two ex- Dio members involved, it’s easy to predict that, just like Last In Line, this will be yet another Dio-sounding band. Let’s find out, shall we?

“Distant Prayer” opens the album just the way I had hoped. It’s a smokin’ melodic hard rocker with a killer groove. It sure has some Dio vibes albeit a little more in the melodic rock direction than the 70’s based hard rock / metal Dio were known for. Also, McNabb and Appice plays really well together which makes the song stand out even more. But “Livin’ Out Loud” can’t live up to the promises that the opener made. It’s a pretty standard 80’s American melodic hard rocker – I think of Hurricane, if you know them – for some reason, but it could really be any U.S melodic rock band that released their debut in 1989. Still the big keyboard riff is very much Dio’s “Last In Line” and Appice’s drum arrangement is also very much Dio. Not bad, but it didn’t rock my world either. Remember the band Bangalore Choir that released one album in the early 90’s? No? Well, don’t sweat because they hardly changed the world. Their album was ok, but a bit forgettable. “Wash Away” sounds like them. If they had been great. Because “Wash Away” is really damn good. Also, singer West sometimes sounds so alike David Reece (ex-Accept, Bangalore Choir, today in Bonfire) it’s scary. But hey, Reece is a killer singer and so is West. “Who Do You Run To” have an opening riff that sounds so much like George Lynch that it could have been a Dokken / Lynch Mob tune. Not a bad thing, in my book and the song is a real killer with a sticky melody. “Fallin’ For You” is awesome and I’m thinking of Rainbow in the 70’s mixed with a big feel for straight ahead pop. A future single maybe? If “Never Say Goodbye” had been released in 1989, it would probably had been all over MTV. It’s a ballad-ish pop / AOR song that reminds me of another Frontiers Records project, Revolution Saints. I love those kind of songs. “Path Of Love” comes in a more late 80’s sleaze/melodic rock costume with an underlying Led Zeppelin groove. The riffs and melodies aren’t exactly world shattering in originality either and that style fits musicians like these guys rather badly. Again, not a bad song, only forgettable. It’s the same with “Had Enough”, a forgettable straight forward hard rock song that passes by pretty unnoticed. The downward spiral continues with “Don’t Have To Fight No More”, a Deep Purple / Whitesnake flavored rocker that goes in one ear and out the other. What started out so good has dipped frighteningly after half the record. And things don’t patch up with “Silent Wonder” either. This song is heavier and takes leap towards what Appice and Goldy did in Dio, but the song sounds rushed, unfinished and it just don’t go anywhere. Luckily enough, the album ends on a good note. “What You Take” is a damn good, solid rocker with a great melody and a distinct chorus, that made me want to give the record another spin, despite the forgettable songs that came before it.

I’m a bit curious of how much of a band this is or if it’s just another Frontiers project. At first glimpse (yes, I can glimpse with my ears, so?) this sounded very much a project, but already by second listening, this felt really authentic and real and even though, some of the songs might not be all that, I get the feeling that this band could be really damn good live. Also, I must admit though, that I have never been that impressed with Craig Goldy. Don’t get me wrong, he has always been a good player, but I never saw him as a guitar hero. His playing on the debut Giuffria record was ok, nothing more and the Dio records, well, to me they were all underwhelming and that’s pretty much all I have ever heard of Goldy’s playing. But on this record, he’s on fire and he hits every note with passion and feel and he is definitely one of this album’s biggest assets. I really don’t have to mention that Appice is great – he always is. McNabb has also always been a rock, so no surprise there. Which leaves singer West, then. A new name to me and a really nice acquaintance. The guy has a big set of pipes, a broad range and enough raspiness to sound rough instead of clean. The David Reece comparison is there throughout the whole album, they sound really alike, but I can also hear some David Coverdale and., of course, some Dio. As a whole, I must say I’m a bit disappointed in the album. There are some awesome songs, the production is faultless and the performances are all great, but there are too many fillers and songs that just don’t cut it. I keep my fingers crossed for a follow-up and that the song writing has jumped up one step by then. But this album, good but not great.

6/10

Tracklist:

1. Distant Prayer
2. Livin’ Out Loud
3. Wash Away
4. Who Do You Run To
5. Fallin’ For You
6. Never Say Goodbye
7. Path Of Love
8. Had Enough
9. Don’t Have To Fight No More
10. Silent Wonder
11. What You Take