RED DRAGON CARTEL - Patina
December 22, 2018, 6 months ago
Second album from Jake E. Lee, with Anthony Esposito on bass (ex-Lynch Mob), Phil Varone (ex-Saigon Kick) on drums, and Darren Smith (Harem Scarem) singing, the mix done by Max Norman, who worked on the first three Ozzy albums. I was really happy to see Jake back in the game in 2014 after so many years away. My favorite Ozzy guitarist (only second to Randy), loved his tone and style, and memorable riffs like “Rock ‘N’ Roll Rebel”, “Centre Of Eternity”, and melodies, shredding in “Secret Loser”, “Shot In The Dark”, and “Lightning Strikes”. Jake’s post Ozzy band, Badlands, shares some commonalities to the Cartel. That dirty, rough, guitar texture is maintained, although, the riffs and rhythms are more bluesy, if that’s possible.
So what does Lee give us on Patina? Lead off track “Speedbag” is a punchy rocker with a moody chorus, “Havana” has a familiar Badlands riff and romp, and Smith’s tone blends well with Jake’s arrangements. “Crooked Man” doesn’t work, just a slow plodding bag of sand, and same with “The Luxury Of Breathing”, between the guitar and bass tone it’s pretty muddy and just lacks a good hook. Just sits and goes nowhere. The slide guitar though is enjoyable. “Bitter” is better and has a little more flair, guitar effects on “A Painted Heart” gives it that retro ‘70s feel. “Punchclown” has the best direction, focus, straight forward crunch and punch, and cool funky noodling on closing tune “Ink & Water”.
I still appreciate and enjoy Jake, he has a very unique approach to playing. But honestly what he did with Ozzy, and Badlands, is so memorable - the riffs, melodies, and hooks. Only a song or two, maybe three, from Patina will stick with me. Still, I will go see him live.