By Tom O’Connor
Revolution Saints returns with Light In The Dark, the follow-up to their well-received 2015 self-titled debut album. It will be available October 13th through Frontiers Music Srl, and it feels like it has been worth the wait.
Readers of my other reviews know I try to avoid spot-the-influence name-checking as much as possible, but the members of this fiery trio were, at various times, actually in bands including Journey, Whitesnake, Dio, Night Ranger, Damn Yankees and even played with Ozzy, so I think it is fair to say that, if you remember a world before iTunes, listening to this album is going to elicit some pretty familiar sonic memories. That isn’t a bad thing when it is done right. If you don’t remember the Jurassic pre-digital world of which I speak, strap in and hold on.
Even though this album pumps out a big, familiar Arena Rock-ready sound, I wouldn’t call it retro. Rock bands, hard and heavy ones, do still exist. These guys just sound like I imagine most rockers would in 2017 if Grunge had never happened. There are fist-pumping beats, serious guitar acrobatics and soaring, melodic vocals, but with bigger things to talk about than Harleys, girls and AquaNet.
The album opens with “Light in the Dark,” a tune with the kind of jump, scope and hope that rock bands used to reach for before Seattle rained on everyone’s party. Deen Castronovo’s vocals, on this and every track, are confident and unapologetic because it should still be cool to be able to hit those high notes. “Freedom” follows with a little more growl and shadow than the opener. The opening trio of tunes is rounded out by “Ride On” with its full throttle sing-along chorus and the first really serious taste of Doug Aldrich’s my-turn-to-shred soloing.
You know things are going to slow down with a well-placed ballad when the next tune “I wouldn’t Change A Thing” opens with just a clean piano and a vocal line that would make Steve Perry proud. From there it builds through its six minutes to a lighter-lifting finale. The band then immediately gets your blood (and fist) pumping again with “Don’t Surrender” and “Take You Down,” both solidly anchored by Jack Blades no nonsense bass. Both songs are reminders that rock music used to, and is still supposed to, be there to help you get back up after you’ve been knocked down.
“The Storm Inside” features some more spectacular lead runs from Aldrich followed by the album’s second piano-based ballad “Can’t Run Away From Love.” As with the previous ballad, the band takes their time building the layers on this one. The most catchy and AOR radio-friendly (if AOR Rock Radio still really existed) song on the album, is the spunky “Running On The Edge.” It isn’t going to set any speed records, but it is loud, tight and solid.
The album wraps up with a solid pair of closers. “Another Chance” rocks hard enough to have been the album opener; no stashing a weak track in the deep cuts for these guys. Finally, “Falling Apart” wears its heart on its sleeve but I don’t call it a ballad exactly.
There are four more tracks on the “Deluxe Edition” that I didn’t have pre-release access to, but I can’t imagine these guys would allow themselves to be caught slipping on the bonus content. Expect that the additional tracks would rock you plenty as well.
This isn’t iPod earbud music. These are songs that beg to be blasted out of speakers and bounced off the walls of your room (or the interior of a car with at least eight cylinders) through your ears and into your timeless hard rocking heart.
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