QUIET RIOT - Road Rage
September 5, 2017, 9 months ago
With almost 40 years of history, extreme highs and lows, constant lineup changes and an inconsistent catalogue of music, lone member from the classic Metal Health lineup, drummer Frankie Banali, gives it another go. I can’t think of another band where the phrase “the struggle is real” applies to, especially after the recent ten plus years of rotating singers. What other band started out on top with a number one album on the Billboard charts (Metal Health) and slowly have it all go downhill after? But, in defense of QR’s better moments, do check out the albums Terrified, Down To The Bone, Alive And Well for more consistency per album. This era also featured the lineup with Kevin DuBrow, Rudy Sarzo, Carlos Cavazo joining Banali, and alumni Chuck Wright (bass) – also on Road Rage. Yes, I know, it’s a bit confusing.
Musically, moments on Road Rage does recapture some of the edge and energy of Metal Health on say opening track “Can't Get Enough”, but the production lacks the punch. This album has a much stripped down mix. Behind the mic is youngster James Durbin from American Idol. The voice is fine for hard rock/glam metal, he has a little grit and can scream, but minus bass and balls. He sounds like a boy, not a man. Of the eleven songs, ballad “The Road” really suits James’ tone the best. Nice reflective solo by long standing guitarist Alex Grossi too. “Getaway”, could have fit in “Down To The Bone” with the middle eastern opening feel, Alex’s riffing, and Chuck’s groovy bass lines. “Roll This Joint” also would have fit on said ‘90s album. “Freak Flag” hits with more of a metal health feel in the backing vocals, guitars, and mid pace romp. Same with “Wasted”. Banali channels his inner John Bonham for “Still Wild”, while “Make A Way” is more a down south vibe rocker given the chorus and harmonica. “Renegades” is a straight forward anthem, and Alex puts some funk into the opening riff for “Knock Em Down”.
At this point in QR’s career, compared to their past at their best - have to say overall the new music just doesn’t hold up. A couple, maybe three to four songs amongst the eleven are listenable, but average at best. Just one of those bands that’d be better off living off their past. And get proper reissues of those first two albums from the ‘70s with Randy Rhoads on guitar, too.