When Revolution Saints released their debut album in 2015, they were just another Frontiers project. The record company managed to put bassist Jack Blades (Night Ranger, Damn Yankees), guitarist Doug Aldrich (The Dead Daisies, Whitesnake, Dio, Bad Moon Rising, Lion) and drummer / lead vocalist Deen Castronovo (Journey, Hardline, Bad English, Ozzy Osbourne) together in a “band” and while that sounded really cool, the album was written mostly by keyboardsman Alessandro Del Vecchio, who also produced the whole thing. Del Vecchio, as we all know, works for Frontiers records, so it was pretty clear that this was just another project from the label. However, the album turned out to be a real AOR killer and it became such a hit that for them not to release a follow-up in the future wasn’t even a possibility. While Frontiers’ projects come thirteen a dozen and most of them are pretty uninteresting, I found Revolution Saints a very successful one when it came to the all over quality and I instantly hoped that this project would turn into a real band. If it is a real band remains to be seen, but we sure enough got a follow-up – a follow-up I couldn’t wait to get my hands on.
The album’s first single and title track opens the album in the best of ways. It’s an uptempo AOR rocker that lands somewhere between Journey and Night Ranger, very positive sounding with glistening melodies and a very catchy, hit-friendly chorus. It’s impossible to ignore the resemblance to the sound of the debut here but that’s hardly a bad thing. Brilliant track. Second single “Freedom” follows and while I found it somewhat disappointing when I first saw the video for it, it grew on me already by second spin. The song comes in a mid tempo and it is hard rock riffing and more raunchy than their usual AOR rock. The chorus isn’t as sticky as we usually get from AOR bands and therefore not an obvious single. Still, after a couple of spins, the catchiness becomes more obvious. Great! “Ride On” is a faster track and is in the vein of melodic hard rock more than actual AOR. It’s heavy, in-your-face and ballsy with a kick-ass attitude – and of course, very memorable. Very good.
A melodic rock / AOR record just wouldn’t be complete without a power ballad and in “I Wouldn’t Change A Thing” we get said power ballad. It starts out as a soft, stripped and beautiful piano ballad but soon turns into a more bombastic thing, complete with strings and a big keyboard sound. The whole melody sticks immediately and that the tune is single # 3 comes as no surprise at all. Fantastic! “Don’t Surrender” is a melodic hard rock tune in mid pace and a great groove. There’s a Journey influence here but also some riffing which leans towards metal (!) and the both melts together brilliantly. Do I have to say it’s catchy as Hell? Well, it is. Fourth single “Take You Down” is next up and again, the hit potential is palpable. It comes in a mid tempo and rocks with some meaty riffs and a main melody that hits like a ton of bricks – the catchiness is all over the tune. A brilliant number.
“The Storm Inside” is heavier, darker and more edgy – in a melodic rock kind of way. It comes with a big punch but also with a killer melody and catchy, yet not a very radio friendly chorus – which is meant in a good way. Another winner. “Can’t Run Away From Love” is the next ballad – slow, emotional, honest and edgy with a more bluesy feel which makes it more a powerful ballad than a power ballad. The Journey comparison is inevitable even if it’s not cloning by any means and Deen Castronovo sings the tune with passion and soul – fantastic! They take us back to the debut album again with “Running On The Edge”, an uptempo AOR-rocker with a really strong main melody and a chorus that catches on after just a few seconds – this is really, really good. The Saints go classic hard rock on “Another Chance”. It’s very distinct and direct and pretty edgy but with a stupendous sense of melody and loads of hooks. Before we say goodbye for this time, we get “Falling Apart”, a mid-paced half-ballad, pretty soft and very hook laden but with a groove and a stellar chorus that blew me away right of the bat.
Musically, this album is heavier and a bit rougher than the debut – the guitars are more edgy and gritty and it leans more toward melodic (hard) rock than the AOR of the debut. Lyrically, it’s also a different beast. I don’t have the writing credits, but the lyrics are way more personal than on the debut and my guess is that Mr Castronovo has been involved there. We all know about his drug and domestic problems a few years ago, that landed him four years on probation and the boot from Journey and lots of the lyrics seems to be about that and his life and health today. Where on the debut Alessandro Del Vecchio wrote pretty much all the tracks and the only input from the band was Jack Blades as a co-writer on two tracks, this time I get the feeling that both Aldrich and Blades are more involved with the music. It would explain the more hard rock sound we get here. That said, if you liked the debut, you’ll most likely love this one and I think the sound here could gain them more fans. I find this album slightly better than the debut and the 9/10 isn’t far away at all. 8,5 would be accurate but I don’t use decimals so there you go. Highly recommended!
More Revolution Saints reviews:
1. Light In The Dark
3. Ride On
4. I Wouldn’t Change A Thing
5. Don’t Surrender
6. Take You Down
7. The Storm Inside
8. Can’t Run Away From Love
9. Running On The Edge
10. Another Chance
11. Falling Apart