February 10, 2015 Revolution Saints – Revolution Saints (Album Review)
Journey’s Deen Castronovo, Night Ranger’s Jack Blades and Whitesnake’s Doug Aldrich have combined together to form a new and exciting band called Revolution Saints. This new project is another vision of Frontiers’ President Serafino Perugino, who for years had hoped to work on an enterprise where Castronovo would be the lead vocalist. Perugino was also the mastermind behind the Michael Sweet and George Lynch collaboration called Sweet & Lynch, and it seems he has a knack for putting together teams that can create amazing sounds together. Castronovo is best known for his drums and backing vocal contributions, not only in Journey, but also in Bad English and Black Sabbath. Here he not only drums but also takes up the lead vocal role and reveals himself to be a fine lead singer. On bass and co-lead vocals in Revolution Saints is Jack Blades, who has worked with Rubicon and Damn Yankees, and currently still shares lead vocal and bass duties in Night Ranger. The third member of this trio is guitarist Doug Aldrich, who rocked in the ’80s hair band Whitesnake for over a decade, and has also been in Dio, Lion, and Burning Rain. The first album these veterans of Rock have created together is a self-titled album set for release February 20, 2015 in Europe and February 24, 2015 in the US.
The album starts with “Back On My Trail,” a gloriously gleeful refrain celebrating life getting back on track, possibly referring to how the band feels about this current project. Obscured as a backing vocalist for years, Castronovo has a brilliance that deservedly shines on this positive tune. Blades takes the lead vocals on “Turn Back Time,” his voice slightly higher pitched yet still very Journey-like in style. Strengthening the Journey links, “You’re Not Alone,” featuring the band’s lead vocalist Arnel Pineda, rolls with Aldrich’s blues rock guitar cutting through the soaring solos and classic timeless riffs. Big hooks and an infectious beat characterize “Locked Out Of Paradise.” Considering the tragedy of this lyrical story, the music comes off as quite positive. Blades returns to lead vocals on “Way To The Sun,” a track that features Journey’s guitarist, Neal Schon. The song is warm, optimistic and hopeful, full of emotion that is amplified by the strumming guitars.
Faster paced and more urgent, “Dream On” is classic Journey, a full on power ballad that pumps up the blood and swells the heart. “Don’t Walk Away” is a slower, sentimental track crammed with heartrending angst, with melancholy desperation etched into the soul of the song. A more powerful vocal alights in “Here Forever,” giving a sense of glory and triumph against the odds and embellished with whirling guitar and pounding drums. “Strangers To This Life” raises the pace with higher notes. Although bordering on being shrill at times, the tune stays just melodic enough to keep from being too harsh. “Better World” is a high tempo track and is very polished musically, but has a different tone to the vocals, leaving the song sounding live, raw and real. “How To Mend A Broken Heart” is more Rock-n-Roll, but still manages to make a poignant, heartbreaking song seem positive in nature and a happy place to be. Lastly, “In The Name Of The Father (Fernando’s Song)” has a spiritual center with uplifting, heartfelt lyrics echoed in the music, leaving the listener with a sense of well-being and contentment.
These are uplifting, joyful songs and there is no brooding melancholy here. They are inspiring, positive and full of sunshine. Everyone involved is musically perfect and flawless, but there is no shade on this album, and sometimes a little rain must fall to appreciate the sunshine. The similarity to Journey in style and sound is not surprising, although there is a lick of Whitesnake from the Rocking Blues guitar of Aldrich, which beefs the record up and gives it a bit more muscle. A fine addition to any music collection, Revolution Saints is well worth the investment. Adding interest, Alessandro Del Vecchio not only produced Revolution Saints but also contributed to the song-writing and even played keyboards on several tracks. Currently, there are no plans to tour this collaboration, but if this record picks up some steam that could check in a hot-minute. Also available in an deluxe edition as bonus tracks are the Arnel Pineda version of “You Are Not Alone,” Aldrich’s “Way To The Sun,” and “You Are Not Alone” with Deen Castronovo on vocals, along with a DVD featuring a documentary about the making of the album. There are also video clips titled “Turn Back Time,” “Back On My Trail,” “Here Forever,” and “Way to the Sun.” CrypticRock gives Revolution Saints a 4.5 out of 5 stars.