When Eddie Trunk brought Jake E. Lee on That Metal Show in 2013, I couldn’t have been more excited. Mr. Lee has been noticeably absent from the hard rock world for a few years, and I greatly missed him. When Jake mentioned his new band Red Dragon Cartel, I was ecstatic that Jake was returning to make new music. I have longed to hear him play in a band since the last Badlands CD Dusk from ’98.
Well Red Dragon Cartel is finally here, and I couldn’t be happier. The new music is great, and has me super excited to see the band live later in 2014.
The opening track “Deceiver” is an awesome stadium anthem that easily states that JAKE E. LEE IS BACK! The riffs on this song sound like they could have easily been off of the Ozzy Osbourne Ultimate Sin album. I can’t get enough of this song.
The song “Shout It Out” has more of a modern flair to it, but it a good song, and one of my favorites on the album.
“Feeder” features Cheap Trick’s Robin Zander on vocals, and as always Zander does a terrific job. This guy could sing names out of the phone book and make it sound good. Jake E. Lee’s riffs are pretty awesome too. Something about the intro on this song reminds me of the opening music on the animated series Batman Beyond, but it is very cool.
“Fall From The Sky (Seagull)” is a slower tune that has a cool alternative vibe too it. I really dig this track. It sounds great loud too!
If there is one weak track on the Red Dragon Cartel album, It is “Wasted”. While I like Paul Di’Anno, I don’t think his voice has aged well, and this song to me would have been better with Darren Smith on vocals. I like the music, but the vocals kill it for me.
“Slave” is another cool rocker with some killer riffs from Jake E. Lee. This hard driving tune really gets your blood pumping.
I am sure some folks were shocked when they heard “Big Mouth” with Maria Brink on vocals. This is unlike anything Jake E. Lee has ever done. It is a modern hard rocker, which isn’t too far off from what In This Moment plays. I like In This Moment and Maria Brink so I have really been enjoying this tune. I am hoping In This Moment will play this live at some point.
The song “War Machine” is doom-laden Black Sabbath like metal opus that gets better every time I listen to it. What a cool tune!
I was surprised to find that Jake E. Lee locked in Sass Jordan to sing a song on the album. I love Sass Jordan, especially on her recent release S.U.N. – Something Unto Nothing. She is a powerful bluesy singer. She does a killer job on “Redeem Me”.
“Exquisite Tenderness” is the first song that Jake E. Lee ever wrote. This is a piano based instrumental that shows that Mr. Lee has a great musical talent beyond his guitar (but please don’t give up that six string Jake!).
If you buy the special Best Buy Edition of the Red Dragon Cartel CD, you will get a bonus track “American Dream”. Is it worth it? I think so. This is a cool rocker that should not be missed.
Overall, I have been enjoying Red Dragon Cartel. It has easily been my favorite hard rock CD of 2014 so far. Some of my peers have not been so kind to Red Dragon Cartel singer Darren Smith, but I will go on record that I like his voice a lot. He reminds of a cross between John Corabi and Rod Jackson. I like both of those singers and I like Darren too. I can’t wait to hear him sing these songs live.
Red Dragon Cartel’s debut is a solid album all the way through, and most importantly it brings Jake E. Lee back to the limelight, and live stages all across the world. Welcome back Jake! I am glad you and Red Dragon Cartel are here!
02. Shout It Out
03. Feeder (Robin Zander)
04. Fall From The Sky (Seagull)
05. Wasted (Paul Di’Anno)
07. Big Mouth (Maria Brink)
08. War Machine
09. Redeem Me
10. Exquisite Tenderness
11. American Dream (Bonus Track)
Red Dragon Cartel is:
Jake E. Lee – Guitars
Ronnie Mancuso – Bass
D.J Smith – Vocals
Jonas Fairley – Drums