Our Score: 3 out of 5 stars
Red Dragon Cartel is the newest rock/metal group formed by former Ozzy Osbourne/Badlands guitarist Jake E. Lee. Along with Lee the group features Ronnie Mancuso on bass, drummer Jonas Fairly and singer D.J. Smith. Together the group creates a sound that blurs the lines between progressive rock, heavy metal and industrial synth pop. The self-titled debut is being released via Frontier Records and features 10 original tracks produced by Mancuso and Lee and Executive Produced by Kevin Churko (Five Finger Death Punch, In This Moment, Ozzy Osbourne).
Having been a subscriber of Guitar World magazine for as long as I can remember I certainly wasn’t stranger to the work Jake E. Lee. From Ozzy’s “Bark at the Moon” and “Ultimate Sin” albums to his recent appearances on VH1’s “That Metal Show” he was a player that was always on my radar. When it was announced he was going to be coming out with a new project I was certainly down for checking it out. “Red Dragon Cartel” is a unique blend of styles that cover a wide spectrum of hard rock and metal. The albums opening track “Deceived” shares a striking resemblance to “Bark at the Moon” while forging new ground both musically and vocally.
The track “Feeder” is a catchy rocker that is the first of several tracks to feature guest appearances with this one featuring Robin Zander of Cheap Trick fame. Other guest performances on the album include Maria Brink of In This Moment, former Iron Maiden singer Paul Di’Anno and former Pantera/current Kill Devil Hill bassist Rex Brown to name just a few. Don’t let the long list of guest musicians fool you in to thinking that Red Dragon Cartel can’t stand on their own as singer D.J. Smith and the rest of the members of the band all can certainly hold their as the guest performances act more like the icing on the cake.
Though I found portions of the album sounding a bit dated there was nothing on the album that made me want to stop listening. I think the members of Red Dragon Cartel have made a solid record that showcases a number of different styles and talents and those things alone are makes this album worth checking out.
2.) Shout It Out
3.) Feeder (feat. Robin Zander)
4.) Fall from the Sky
7.) Big Mouth (feat. Maria Brink)
8.) War Machine
9.) Redeem Me
10.) Exquisite Tenderness