Former Ozzy Osbourne guitarist Jake E. Lee got his newest band, Red Dragon Cartel, together last year and their eponymous debut album (Frontiers Records) shows that there is some great potential. The album features others who are well-known to metalheads such as Maria Brink of In This Moment and former Iron Maiden singer Paul Di’Anno on some of the tracks.
The second track ‘Shout It Out’ could very well be the next anthem at sports games. If not that, it can certainly get the crowd going as an opening song. It has the crunching guitar sound that many metalheads desire as well as singer Darren James Smith yelling “Who’s your master?”
Brink on ‘Big Mouth’ is a welcome change in the male dominated sound of the album. Her singing style goes well with the band’s sound. It is a song that both fans of Jake E. Lee and In This Moment are sure to enjoy.
The finale of the album, ‘Exquisite Tenderness,’ is a bold move for a heavy band. It shows that Lee is more than just a talented guitarist. He had written the piece at the age of six when he was being trained as a classical pianist. It’s a perfect way for someone who has been praised for his guitar work to give listeners a bit of a surprise.
The bonus track on this edition of the album is an acoustic version of ‘Feeder’. This version is better than the one that actually made it onto the album. It is more interesting to listen to the acoustic guitar solo because it is a break from most of what the album sounds like. There is also more of Lee’s piano chops to be heard here.
Overall, the album seems to suffer from sounding a little too generic. It is disheartening to say that about a guitarist who has played with some big acts. However, ‘Exquisite Tenderness’ and the acoustic version of ‘Feeder’ prove that Lee and the rest of the band still have a few tricks up their sleeves.