Kickin Valentina are a band who I have known about for a couple of years now, but for some reason, which I am ashamed to admit, have not really got around to giving some serious and much needed airtime to.
Well, what a mistake that has turned out to be as I can’t get that lost time back, but after the pleasure of having ‘The Revenge Of Rock’ land in my inbox last week and being asked to review it, I have played it everyday since and can safely say that they will now be getting regular play time and I will be investing in the back catalogue as soon as I possibly can.
After forming in 2013, American rockers Kickin Valentina released their debut self-titled EP in October of that year. In August 2015, they signed with Danish hard rock/metal label Mighty Music/Target Group and have since released two albums, ‘Super Atomic’ in 2015, ‘Imaginary Creatures’ in 2017 and an EP, ‘Chaos in Copenhagen’ in 2019. ‘The Revenge of Rock’ is their third album for the label and was released on 22nd January 2021.
Over the last 8 years since getting together, Kickin Valentina have made themselves busy on stages across the world where they have opened for such acclaimed artists as Buckcherry, Queensryche, Nitrogods, Skid Row, Red Dragon Cartel, Sebastian Bach, Doro, Faster Pussycat, Kix, LA Guns and more.
In addition to their own headlining shows, they also actively play a variety of music festivals and are due to play (Covid restrictions permitting) Call of The Wild Festival in Lincolnshire in May and HRH Sleaze which takes place in Sheffield in August.
I have to say I was really excited to get the chance to review ‘The Revenge of Rock’ and as soon as I got the e-mail I downloaded the album and hit play.
Well, to say I was blown away is a bit of an understatement. I have been raving about it to anyone who will listen ever since.
To be fair, that is basically my wife, children and a few close friends but I think they all get the gist, this is an album of epic proportions, full of gargantuan rockers that needs playing loud.
It is made to be played with a bottle of Jack to hand and at a volume that will have your neighbours running for cover. It is noisy, it is incendiary, an absolute beast of a release if you will.
Produced by Andy Reilly (UFO / Bruce Dickinson / Cradle of Filth) at Muse Productions in Atlanta and mastered by Maor Appelbaum (Faith No More / Sabaton / Halford) at Maor Applebaum Mastering, ‘The Revenge of Rock’ is, as the band describe themselves “loud unapologetic rock n roll”.
This is an album designed to destroy what is left of the ozone layer as it launches itself out of your speakers and gives those of a certain age, carte blanche to pull on their leathers or spandex, get out the eyeliner, back comb their hair and empty cans of hairspray once more.
This is rock music to dance to, to drink to, to party to and let’s make no mistake that is what rock music is designed for.
From the opening few bars of ‘Freak Show’ it is clear that the album is going to be a sonic delight.
The guitars are blisteringly hot, the drums sound like a machine gun going off and the vocals are in your face, brash and just plain electrifying. This is real fists in the air stuff, totally rousing and completely exhilarating.
The first single from the album. ‘Somebody New’ is up next and is a really ballsy slightly slower paced track. Completely different to the opener, this starts off with some luscious harmonious vocals before kicking into a real 80’s style radio friendly number full of delicious guitar parts and a big chorus.
It is a truly energizing number, you know the sort that bands like Bon Jovi, Danger Danger etc used to churn out for fun.
That then takes us into ‘Rat Race’ which bursts into life, full of swagger and raunch, like it has drawn every last sinew of sweaty energy that is still clinging to the walls of the bars and clubs that made the Sunset Strip the legendary place it was.
Squealing guitars, raspy vocals, this is 21st Century sleaze rock at its best, dirtiest, and most needed. After all, we are all “trying to escape this rat fucking race” aren’t we.
‘Strange’, is a more melodic number that would have surely had heavy rotation on music TV channels back in the days when music TV played music.
It is a really special number, different to the rest of the album, but a track that suits the gravelly tone to D.K. Revelle’s vocals perfectly. ‘Lookin For Me’ is one of my favourite tracks on the album.
A proper party rock tune, that could easily have been written about those bygone days where hair was big, men wore as much make up as the women, times were for partying and life was about ‘the girl’.
It has everything you need, hooks, melodies, catchy sing-a-long lyrics, killer drum beat and those insatiable guitar parts. Fan-bloody-tastic!
‘War’, the 3rd single to be released in the build up to the albums release gets us two thirds of the way through, what is, in all honesty a 9 track masterpiece.
Kickin Valentina have taken their name from a fetish porn star who kicked men in their testicles, well, ‘War’ is fast paced, action packed and has a real kick to it and could do exactly the same thing so beware, as it comes at you, guns blazing, that a big boot doesn’t come swinging at your nether regions. A ferociously intense track, it seems destined to be a real crowd involvement moment when live music returns.
‘Heart Tattoo’ is another punchy slower paced number, but still not a power ballad in the true sense of the phrase.
The whiskey-soaked vocal chords of Revelle give real meaning to the emotional outpouring in the lyrics and when you then add the truly lilting guitar work and snappy beat from the rhythm section, you get a stunningly beautiful track that just oozes passion and heartfelt sentiment.
That takes us on to the second single and penultimate track, ‘End Of The Road’. Not only is this track written to be played to crowds of thousands in stadiums and arenas, it is a divinely uplifting track that should well be one of the feel good tracks that people go to when in need of a boost.
Remember days of laughter and long summers of love”, to “ditching school and drinking beer”, the lyrics are there to remind us all of the “good old days, the glory days”, so pull the top down on your car, turn the stereo up and cruise around like it was 1989 all over again and you don’t have a care in the world other than enjoying life to the max.
‘The Revenge of Rock’ brings this sumptuous nine song, 39 minute album to a close and what a way to finish.
If the previous 8 tracks have not grabbed you enough, this one final number most certainly will. It sums up perfectly what Kickin Valentina are about from the off! Rip snorting guitars, screaming vocals, pummelled drums, a beast of a bass line and lyrics that tip their hat to a whole host of rocks most celebrated luminaries and to the rock n roll lifestyle itself.
It is as in your face as any track on the album and will have you shaking those hips and banging that head long into the night.
When you have got your breath back after that electrifying, hair-raising, rip-roaring four minutes you will just be crying out for more, more, more. The only thing to do is pour another Jack and hit play again.
What Kickin Valentina have just released on the world is an album of quite stupendous brilliance.
It may not be original, after all what really is these days, but is so so needed if you ask me.
There was a time, not that long ago, when an album of this style would have been pretty much ignored or told it was outdated, well Kickin Valentina have just shoved those sentiments right back up those peoples arses.
This is dirty, sleazy, kick-ass rock n roll and it should be shouted about from every roof top and given as much airplay as humanly possible. This album, for me, personifies what rock n roll is meant to be about and I frigging love it.
There has been a resurgence in the careers of some of the so called heritage bands from the LA scene of the late 80’s, early 90’s and quite rightly so. What Kickin Valentina are doing, is showing up, like a bastard love child of those bands and putting themselves up for election as the rightful leaders of a new generation of 21st century rockers with one thing in mind, to make insanely good rock music to party to.
This is loud, brash, in your face rock n fucking roll baby and I for one hope that is here to stay. “The Revenge Of Rock” movement is well under way and if people want a band to take sleazy rock roaring through the Twenties then they undoubtedly have a figurehead in Kickin Valentina!
The Revenge of Rock Track listing
1 – Freak Show
2 – Somebody New
3 – Rat Race
4 – Strange
5 – Lookin For Me
6 – War
7 – Heart Tattoo
8 – End Of The Road
9 – The Revenge Of Rock
“The Revenge Of Rock” was released in digital, LP and CD formats by Mighty Music on January 22nd, 2021.
Kickin Valentina line-up:
Vocals – D.K. Revelle
Guitar – Heber Pampillon
Bass – Chris Taylor
Drums – Jimmy Berdine
Kickin Valentina Online
Review by Darren Smith for MPM