Review by Richard Henry for MPM
Album number 4 and it’s all change in the Revolution Saints camp, we have Jack Blades and Doug Aldrich departing and the new duo of Joel Hoekstra and Jeff Pilson coming into the fold, so let’s see what we get with Mark two of this group!
Track 1 – Eagle Flight
Starting off very Journey, piano coming in and then just an arpeggiated guitar part before the band come in, driving beat under a static type of riff, the verse is very underpinned by the piano part with the guitar dropping out for the first half, great use of harmony vocals leading into the chorus of the song, your reminded straight away of what a great voice Deen really has, great chorus, guitars are maybe not as prominent in this production wise, Joels solo is very laid back in the first half really following a melody before he gets to open up a bit in the second half of it, then back into that soaring chorus again, the lead out has the chorus with a bit more guitar solo over the top of it, nice drumming and a bit of double bass as the song closes out.
Track 2 – Talking Like Strangers
Lovely guitar figure opening this one and straight off this is more of a rocker with nice lead work from Joel right from the off, nice drum pattern in the verse as well under the riff, its driving but the actual parts are really laid back as it is building up towards the chorus, you just know you’re going to get a great chorus with these guys and again they don’t disappoint on this track, really bluesy solo on this one, lots of overbends and some nice tapping parts as well, tasteful while still showing exactly what he is capable of, then into that great chorus yet again!
Track 3 – Need Each Other
Swell in the cymbals and this one is starting with the piano again with some guitar over it, then into a slow groove with the guitar carrying the melody into the verse, simple drumbeat, and the piano is carrying this verse much like the intro with feedback guitars over the top of it, soaring vocal into the chorus, this is pure AOR territory on the chorus and exactly what these guys do so well, love the guitar part straight after the chorus playing a higher melody, before we drop down again into the verse section, some great playing on this, lovely tapping parts from Joel I will be trying to learn that later on, then back into that massive chorus to close out the track!
Track 4 – Kids Will Be Kids
Sliding guitar part into this, I can’t put my finger on what track it reminds me of, it’s almost like an 80s Gary Moore style riff, lovely harmony vocals in the prechorus, the vocals kick up a gear in the chorus, underpinned by the lower backing vocals, that’s a nice break into the solo and also worth mentioning is the drums under the solo where Deen pulls in some nice fills and parts, before we head back into that huge chorus!
Track 5 –I’ll Cry for You Tonight
Huge strings under that really slow riff at the start, that’s a really nice bass line under that verse, almost a James Bond style part in the orchestration under that riff, I was expecting more of a ballad with the song title, and it is in a way but a more muscular version of a ballad, really nice solo as well, really playing the melody rather than being flashy, totally suited the vibe of the song as well, also the same idea at the end of the song, really liked the way the drum fill and the guitar followed each other till the end of the track
Track 6 – Crime of the Century
Nope it’s not a Supertramp song, an almost jungle type groove on the drums, this one has a bit more of an aggressive type vocal on what is a driving verse section, then the harmonies come in for the prechorus as we are building to something, and there we have it, another massive chorus, I mean if you can do it, then do it, every track so far has a really memorable chorus, I like that break in the middle with a keyboard part circling the riff, a lot more shred on display on that solo, love it, and then back into that massive chorus!
Track 7 – Set Yourself Free
Tapped guitar intro over feedbacking guitar, this actually reminds me of something Steve Vai would do as an intro, it’s an interesting arrangement for the verse with more a drum groove before we hit an actual beat for the buildup pre chorus, another great chorus, yeah, I know I am saying that for every track but honestly the choruses are massive in every track, not sure about that verse as it sort of drops the momentum all the other parts of the song have, there are some tasty drum fills on display on this one as well, lovely build up on the solo and it just gets more and more virtuosic as it goes, then we are back into chorus land!
Track 8 – Sacred
An almost Maiden style gallop riff with a melody over the top of it, before it breaks down a bit into the verse, the guitars dial back and make room for the vocal, the pre chorus makes use of arpeggiated guitars before we hit a chorus that really makes great use of the harmony vocals, the song drives all the way through it, but it’s the way its produced to give light and shade to certain sections and then build it all up towards the chorus, something that has happened in every song so far, really subdued solo on this one, very short and to the point
Track 9 – Once More
Piano on this one at the start, nice subtle chord part, then we have a very 80s drum part coming in over the top of it with a solo guitar part playing, very low register vocal part, before we add a call and response vocal part as yet again the track starts to build right into you guessed it, a soaring chorus, this could be a Journey song for sure, that and crossed with a healthy dose of Toto, that’s a blazing solo, melody peppered with a healthy dose of chops, really well played, then we are back into the chorus as the song plays out
Track 10 – Save it All
Very upbeat intro and probably the most up-tempo track so far on this, it’s very different from the off, almost Night Ranger in style, it’s still 100% how this band sound but a bit more pushed than the other tracks, for me this one harkens back to some of the songs from the debut album, I mean you still have a build into the pre chorus and then into the massive chorus again, nice Thin Lizzy style harmony solos on this, before we head right back into the chorus, another track that doesn’t disappoint and deliver exactly what this band does so well!
9 out of 10
This is another great Revolution Saints album; you know exactly what you are going to get, and they deliver on every single track on the album. So why a 9 and not a 10, well simply, the guitars are a bit soft sounding, they rip on the solos but they seem to be lacking a bit of heft when playing the riffs getting buried a bit by the keyboards where I feel the keys should maybe have been pulled back a bit in the mix to make the guitars more prominent, again my opinion and that’s more to do with the mix and production than the actual musicianship, apart from that, solid album, recommended!!
Deen Castronovo – lead vocals, drums
Joel Hoekstra – guitars
Jeff Pilson – bass