Review by Andy Hawes for MPM
If you like your rock hard, with huge slabs of molten guitar riffing, with wailing vocals and a great balance between the modern and the classic in the production and arrangements stakes, then the news of a new Dead Daisies album is likely to whet your appetite.
Released on 30th September, Radiance, the sixth studio album from the supergroup continues the band’s themes of muscular guitar based Hard Rock songs in some style.
The band has had something of an open door policy to members over the years but the current line-up consists of guitarists David Lowy and Doug Aldrich, drummer Brian Tichy and legendary bassist/lead vocalist Glenn Hughes. Together they have created a tight and classy album that combines a wide range of classic and modern Hard Rock influences characterised by colossal guitar riffs powerful drumming, muscular soloing and Hughes’ unmistakeable vocal stylings.
There’s not a lot of subtlety about the sound on this album, but truth to tell, that’s not what this kind of music is about and Dead Daisies have the pedigree to have this kinda thing nailed! Opening with ‘Face The Fear’ and ‘Hypnotize’, the band slam the listener into submission from the off with a truly huge sound! The guitars literally roar out of the speakers on both tracks with the sort of simple yet oh-so-effective riff that AC/DC might use, but with twice the megawattage!
It’s also abundantly clear that Glenn Hughes has lost none of his vocal prowess over the many years of his illustrious career. Here, as with all tracks on the album, he provides a powerful and emotive performance without going too far over the top.
His commanding vocal stretches its range and completely owns the subtle and simple hooklines on two huge mid-tempo slabs of Hard Rock delight, the latter utilising superb dynamics in both vocal and guitar to accentuate the shifts from verse to chorus and back again with an almost hypnotic combination of chorus riff and vocal melody to accentuate the song’s title.
‘Shine On’ ups the tempo with a chugging steam-train of a riff that bulldozes its way out of the speakers before a clever half-time chorus shift and clever riff showcase the oh so simple hook.
Title track, ‘Radiance’ has a slow, sludgy down-tuned riff that grooves beautifully against Tichy’s powerful yet spacious drumming. The vocal here really is classic Hughes, navigating lower and upper register with ease against the doomy-laden minor key riffery which is almost reminiscent of Dio-era Sabbath in both tone and style.
The tempo rises for the awesome ‘Born to Fly’ which has multiple layers of massive guitar chording providing a solid bedrock for Hughes’ ever classy vocals.
The chorus on this one is pure gold – more melodic than anything we’ve heard so far, the guitar layers orchestrating beautifully beneath the soaring melodies. A standout track for sure!
A Peter Frampton/Richie Sambora-esque talkbox intro heralds the mid-paced majesty of ‘Kiss The Sun’ which pummels the listener with a truly filthy riff and which features Aldrich at his melodic shredding best before the highly dynamic ‘Courageous’ which features a range of styles from huge almost Southern Rock riffing a la Black Stone Cherry to a hugely melodic chorus and staccato breakdown before Aldrich lets fly with another classy solo. The groove on this one is irresistible as it hurtles to its glorious climax.
The doomy, sludgy down-tuned minor key riffing returns big-time on the mid-paced ‘Cascade’ but just when you think you’re in Sabbath territory again, it opens up with a classic Hard Rock chorus with Hughes’ mighty wail driving the melodies home before Aldrich’s monstrous solo.
‘Not Human’ continues the modern Hard Rock themes with more hugely down-tuned guitars but this time on a more up-tempo and more melodic rocker. Coming on like a runaway freight train, there is an unstoppable groove to this one and the guitar arrangement is just perfect. If this doesn’t get your feet tapping or head nodding, you’re probably clinically dead! Brilliant stuff!
The Dead Daisies are really on a roll now and album closer ‘Roll On’ does just that. Opening with chiming guitar and Hughes’ vocal, it settles into a spacious groove-laden monster. It’s the lightest track on the album and works brilliantly, showing another side to the Daisies’ sound.
Delicate keyboard orchestration accentuates the space in the production and really showcases Hughes’ vocal. I wasn’t expecting that the first time I played the album through, but after repeated listens, the more open, light and spacious production and arrangement reveal a fabulous song!
The Dead Daisies have hit paydirt once again with Radiance. It has the perfect combination of modern and classic Hard Rock stylings and as such should have massive appeal across the Hard Rock fanbase out there. The song-writing is very solid and the production is colossal. The guitars in particular sound as if they are being played through a veritable mountain range of speakers.
The only tiny criticism I have is that, at times, the sheer magnitude of the guitar sound does leave Hughes’ vocal a little buried in the mix. On first listen, I really noticed it, but repeated listens have convinced me that it’s a very minor niggle and nothing more and may be at least partly down to me listening for review purposes on my Mac-book rather than on a kick-ass stereo.
Powerful, groove-laden, hard-hitting and heavy, Radiance hits the spot big time! Whether you like the modern or classic Hard Rock sound, check this album out when it’s released in September. You’ll be very glad you did!
Pre Order your copy here:
ROCK IS INDEED ALIVE AND WELL!
Face Your Fear
Born To Fly
Kiss The Sun