REVIEW: REVOLUTION SAINTS – “Light In The Dark”
If there is one thing the current Rock and Metal landscape is overpopulated with, its so called “Supergroups”. They usually come in different varieties; There are the burn-out bands who blaze brightly for a very short period before turning to ashes (Velvet Revolver) and then there are the ones that seem more like some random session musicians cobbled together for no discernible reason (“Art Of Anarchy” and most everything Mike Portnoy has done post-Dream Theater). However, now and again there still comes a group worthy of the title.
Formed in 2014 by three of the most talented gunslingers in the music industry, the three members of Revolution Saints have resumes a mile long; Doug Aldrich ( Whitesnake, Dio, The Dead Daisies) on guitar, Jack Blades (Night Ranger, Damn Yankees) on bass and Dean Castronovo (Journey, Ozzy Osbourne, Hardline) on drums and lead vocals. Now they are back with their sophomore album “Light In The Dark”.
The album opens with the hugely uplifting title track “Light In The Dark” – a fast paced rocker with Aldrich’s superb guitar playing taking center stage. Possibly even more impressive is Castronovo’s singing – with all the melodic sense of Journey’s very best work, his voice is simply brilliant. “Freedom” is a mid-tempo rocker with a big emotional punch. In lesser hands , the religious themes of salvation and freedom (with Bible quotes included!) would sound cliched, but Castronovo sounds truly liberated here, both personally and musically – its a theme that runs through the entire album.
“Ride On” is a brilliant AOR number with huge chorus and a stand-back-and-watch Aldrich solo while the piano led ballad “I Wouldn’t Change A Thing” builds smoothly to another mega guitar solo – Steve Perry would be proud. Alessandro Del Vecchio’s production throughout is just right , balancing the smooth melodic sound without over polishing harder edges.
“Don’t Surrender” sounds more like “Journey” than they do these days while “Take You Down” packs a chunky riffs and beats to a chorus so satisfying you would swear you’ve heard it before a hundred times. “The Storm Inside” follows a similar pattern and it highlights one of the biggest strengths “Revolution Saints” have – consistency. While all the songs generally follow the same sonic template, its hard to label any song on this album “filler” – they sound like a band that clearly knows what they’re aiming for and that clarity is impressive.
With a distinct change of pace, the emotional piano ballad “You Can’t Run Away From Love” sounds just as you would imagine a song with that title would sound, but a great AOR album is there to satisfy and not surprise – the passion in Castronovo’s voice is strong and the song works. Jack Blades talent for infectious melody is all over “Running On The Edge” while while “Another Chance” is a powerful, hard rocker with the same theme of overcoming personal adversity – “Against the odds I climbed a another mountain, I know I need another chance”. The album closes with searching love song “Falling Apart”. The vocals soar around the real question that plagues many a relationship and supergroup alike –“How can we find a way, to keep it all together?”.
In the end Revolution Saints have managed to build on their sound and songwriting to deliver a superb AOR album to be proud of. One hopes they will defy the usual supergroup pattern of disintegration and last the long run since they clearly have a lot to give their fans.