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BABYLON A.D. Revelation Highway

By Jay Roberts, Massachusetts Contributor
Monday, November 27, 2017 @ 1:29 PM

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Revelation Highway

Frontiers Music Srl - 2017

For those that only remember BABYLON A.D. as the band whose self-titled album back in 1989 contained three classic tracks of the era, you might be surprised to learn that the band has morphed from what would be characterized (perhaps ungenerously) as a glam metal band to a blues based hard rock band.

If you check out their Wikipedia page, you can learn the band's colorful history. I wrote about their debut album for an article series that I write for another website and at that time was surprised to learn that they'd been together off and on over the years.

And now in the latter stages of the 2017 calendar year, they have unleashed their new Revelation Highway album and it is definitely one that has some amazing high points. Key to this is the vocals of Derek Davis. I mean no slight at all to the rest of the band because they all contribute to the great sound of the material, but even back in the day I was really keyed into the vocal performances of Davis.

The album opens with a rip roaring track called "Crash And Burn". The bluesy inflections from Davis even on tracks that are more keyed to just spitting out a fast delivery give an extra bit of hook to the sound and that is definitely the case with the opening song.

There are some songs that play with your expectations. "Fool On Fire" starts off with an acoustic intro but quickly gives way to the kind of adrenalized rocking tempo that tends to fire the imaginations of rock fans the world over. Meanwhile, "Tears" conjures up the idea that the song will be a ballad. It starts off that way, but after a minute, the pace picks up and rocks out. Yet if you listen to the lyrics closely, they are still what you would call "ballad" type lyrics. You can imagine that the song could've worked even if they'd kept that same slow drawn out style that opens the song.

One of the biggest factors that keyed my overall enjoyment of the disc was how a couple of songs end up growing on you. Upon first listen the songs "One Million Miles" and "I'm No Good For You" quite honestly felt like filler tracks. I really didn't care for them. But upon repeated spins of the disc, I found myself doing a deeper dive into the sound and vocals. In the end though, I found that I was digging both of the tracks a lot.

Now, I wish I could say that about all the songs, but with "Last Time For Love" and "She Likes To Give It", there was just nothing that could really win me over with either track. The former track is just flat from start to finish. As for the latter track, it had all the earmarks of a track that back in the day I would've loved. It's got a good fast pace and sexually suggestive lyrics. I'm no caveman, but I'm not a choirboy either and I can enjoy a sex drenched song with the best of them. But there was just no subtlety on this one at all. Lyrically or even with the title of the song. The biggest "sin" for me however, was the vocal decision on the chorus, particularly when Davis sings the song title. It was nails on a chalkboard grating. It just annoyed the hell out of me.

Of course, that was all offset by songs like "Rags To Riches", an energetic track telling the tale of girl's dreams of stardom coming true. It might sound like something you've heard a million times before, but I liked the way the lyrics and the delivery of said lyrics are phrased in such a pointed manner that it comes off more as a cautionary tale than a celebratory one. The guitar solo in the song was truly fun. It is definitely one of my favorite songs on the disc.

I also loved the straight forward nature of the rocker "Saturday Night". I remember a line from a DOKKEN live album where singer Don Dokken introduced a song saying that sometimes you just need a song that is pure attitude and that pretty much sums up this one. The closing song "Don't Tell Me Tonight" puts forth another burst of rocking energy to finish things on a high note.

Forgive the cliche play on the band's past material, but while they may not be banging the bells or swinging hammers down quite as hard as in their younger days, BABYLON A.D.'s new album lives up to half of its title in a big way. Twenty-eight years on, the album is indeed a hard rocking revelation!

4.4 Out Of 5.0

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