I took on the task of reviewing Resurrection Kings‘ soon to be released debut album simply because their classic metal sound piqued my interest. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I soon found out that Resurrection Kings consists of two trusted companions of one of heavy metal’s greatest frontmen: Mr. Ronnie James Dio. These members are guitarist Craig Goldy and drummer Vinny Appice (in one of his many projects) and with them on board, my first impression of Resurrection Kings comes as no surprise. With these two names attached to the project, my expectations for this self titled debut album only grew higher.
Along with Craig Goldy and Vinny Appice, Resurrection Kings also features bassist Sean McNabb and vocalist Chas West. Craig joined Dio in the late 80s for one album and returned three more times before Ronnie James Dio‘s 2010 death and Vinny’s relationship with Ronnie goes back to their time in Black Sabbath and is one of the only two drummers Dio (the band) ever had. I didn’t recognize Sean McNabb’s name at first, but when looking him up I was reminded that he played on Quiet Riot‘s self titled album. The one with Paul Shortino on vocals. There are some pretty solid songs on that album, but other than that I found he’s also been a brief member of Great White and Dokken as well as some other projects. Chas West is a name I recognize thanks to his month spent as the vocalist of Jake E. Lee‘s Red Dragon Cartel in the absence of Darren Smith, at a period when instead of auditioning singers, Jake just hired guys for a month at a time. It started to become a bit ridiculous, but Chas was the best singer of the bunch, even though the competition wasn’t fierce.
With these four men and their credentials, it’s no surprise that right off the bat Resurrection Kings‘ opening track Distant Prayer hits you with all guns blazing. It’s med tempo and heavy beat mixed with its melodic backbone are sure to please any nostalgic 80’s metal fans. It was when hearing Wash Away that I was convinced this would be a good album. It serves as the third track. Second track Livin’ Out Loud doesn’t have much significance. Newer artists who want to sound like 80’s metal bands should still certainly take note of that song and so many others on this album, but Livin’ Out Loud isn’t one of the finer tracks.
A lot of Resurrection Kings‘ songs follow a heavy mid tempo. Some are pretty excellent in delivery such as Who Did You Run To, Fallin’ For You but then there are some that are just okay and serve little magnitude such as Path of Love and Silent Wonder. Unfortunately the closing track What You Take also lacks a true punch. The songs with a tempos that I’d consider to be fast all appear close to the end of the album. Don’t Have To Fight Anymore has a sound that reminds me of Rainbow‘s faster stuff in their days with Joe Lynn Turner on vocals. Had Enough is another song with a fast tempo. It’s not as dynamic as Don’t Have To Fight Anymore but it does a pretty good job at getting the job done.
Of course I have to mention Resurrection Kings‘ ballad Never Say Goodbye. It may seem that I always have something good to say about an albums ballad, but there are rare times where the ballad doesn’t meet my expectations. However, this isn’t one of those times. Never Say Goodbye may be a little corny, like many ballads, but it doesn’t feel out of place. Much of the album is keyboard heavy and I’ve mentioned how melodic it can get and how effective it is. Al of this is present in Never Say Goodbye, but with a little extra added heart and emotion.
I don’t know what expectations people will have of Resurrection Kings, but I’m sure anyone who knows these band members pasts would be expecting something old school, which is exactly what they’d get. I don’t know how high their expectations would be, but I think this self titled debut can meet many of them. I wouldn’t call it a terrific album, as it has some dull moments and much of the rest of the album is good to very good, with only a few fantastic moments that aren’t enough to propel Resurrection Kings to being more that very good. Very good is a fine way to describe an album though, and old school metal fans will probably dig this album. There is nothing modern about this album, but unlike many new bands who try and fail at making good sounding metal albums that sound like they belong in the early/mid 80’s, Resurrection Kings’ members were around making music in the early/mid 80’s and they show their scars with pride.
Thanks for reading!
“Wash Away” – I mentioned in the review that this was the song that made me realize this would be a good album. There may be songs with better hooks and melodies that hit other listeners harder, but every time I hear Wash Away I fall in love with the album all over again.
7.5 (Out of 10)
- Distant Prayer
- Livin’ Out Loud
- Wash Away
- Who Did You Run To
- Fallin’ For You
- Never Say Goodbye
- Path Of Love
- Had Enough
- Don’t Have To Fight No More
- Silent Wonder
- What You Take