Quiet Riot burst onto the rock scene back in 1983 with their breakthrough album, ‘Metal Health’ which became the first heavy metal album to top the Billboard album chart and included their cover version of the Slade classic ‘Cum On Feel The Noize’.
The intervening years have not been plain sailing for the band as the death of former members, internal fighting and numerous line up changes have taken their toll and left us with only 11 studio albums to show for the past 36 years.
The latest line up includes founding member and drummer Frankie Banali and veteran bassist Chuck Wright, who are joined by Alex Grossi on guitars and James Durbin on vocals. Durbin has left the band since recording the album and been replaced by former vocalist Jizzy Pearl, so the changes keep coming.
‘Hollywood Cowboys’ finds us in familiar territory with a thumping heavy metal album that opens with ‘Don’t Call It Love’, an anthemic chunk of rock with grinding guitar riffs and the sound of a band rolling back the years. ‘In The Blood’, ‘Heartbreak City’ and ‘The Devil That You Know’ continue in the same vein, the latter allowing Durbin to show off his vocal range and give the fans what they have become used to from Quiet Riot over the years.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uMks9DYC1tU&w=560&h=315]
‘Change Or Die’ is a powerhouse of a track with the whole band rocking’ out and once again Durbin’s voice soars, but with a gritty edge that works really well. ‘Roll On’ sees us at the halfway mark of the album and we slow down with a really bluesy, earthy track that sees the band in a more melancholy mood but still nailing it. The calm doesn’t last long though and the band are soon back to their rocking best with my favourite track on the album, ‘Insanity’ which allows Alex Grossi to cut loose and give us a blistering guitar attack, be that the grinding background or the searing solos and he is ably assisted by the whole band here, who sound like they are really enjoying this one.
‘Hellbender’ is full of chugging riffs that carry the listener along as it slowly seeps into your brain before ‘Wild Horses’ which never reaches the heady heights of some of those tracks that have gone before. A short acoustic intro takes us into ‘ Holding On’ with Durbin and Grossi duelling throughout with Durbin giving us a superb rock vocal while Grossi is again let loose with a scorching guitar solo.
We are then into the final two tracks of the album ‘Last Outcast’ and ‘Arrows And Angels’, which pick up the pace once again and bring proceedings to a thumping conclusion.
With so many line up changes over the years, it’s almost impossible to say what a Quiet Riot album should sound like and for that reason, opinion will be divided on whether this hits the spot or not, but as a standalone rock album, this works. I liked it in places and loved it in others and it would be great to see the band build on this release. With the return of Jizzy Pearl and Frankie Banali’s ongoing heath issues, we will wait to see.
Hollywood Cowboys is released on 8 November 2019
Reviewed by : Howard Whitelaw (October 2019)
1. Don’t Call It Love
2. In The Blood
3. Heartbreak City
4. The Devil That You Know
5. Change Or Die
6. Roll On
9. Wild Horses
12.Arrows And Angels
Frankie Banali – drums
Alex Grossi – guitars
Chuck Wright – bass guitar
James Durbin – vocals