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RED DRAGON CARTEL Patina

By Jay Roberts, Massachusetts Contributor
Monday, November 26, 2018 @ 6:23 AM


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RED DRAGON CARTEL
Patina

Frontiers Music Srl - 2018
http://www.reddragoncartel.com




In 1984, the melodic rock band SURVIVOR sang "When there's magic in the music, it's the singer not the song." After listening to Patina, the second album from guitarist Jake E. Lee's RED DRAGON CARTEL band, there was very little magic to be found from most of the songs or singer Darren James Smith. Or to be honest, the rest of the band as well.

While it has been pointed out that the musical direction of this album was pointed in a more blues rock direction, the overall effect I felt after the ten songs had been played was, for the most part, utter disappointment.

Things started out well enough musically. The opening cut "Speedbag" was musically interesting with a big chunky guitar riff throughout the song. But I wasn't crazy about the vocals from Darren James Smith as they sounded as if they were culled from a different track and thrown together with the music on this song.

When I reviewed the first RED DRAGON CARTEL album, I mentioned that the best songs on that album where the ones that had other singers (Sass Jordan and Robin Zander especially) doing the vocals. Jake E. Lee's rather stubborn insistence that Smith is a great singer for his material is really doing harm to the overall product. Sure, the songs "Havana", "Bitter" and the closing track "Ink & Water" show that there are some examples where the vocals come off strong and make the song sound pretty decent. But as they say, even the sun shines on a dog's ass some days. I say this because those three numbers are the only ones on Patina that make the experience of slogging through this disc worthwhile. The slow paced "A Painted Heart" is musically numbing to the point I felt like it was trying to put me to sleep.

Sure, the songs were all written by Jake E. Lee and bassist Anthony Esposito so Smith is absolved of the blame for the subpar quality of the music but his performance certainly didn't make things any better either. I had hopes that "Punchclown" was going to be a cool song because the music was admittedly interesting but then the vocals started and things went immediately downhill.

A lot of the reviews I do come when I pass on the download link that is offered because I make the physical purchase. It is a method that has almost always paid off for me. Until now. I should've taken the download link because the experience of Patina won't be repeated now that I've done this review. I don't know exactly what has happened to make me dislike so much of the work Jake E. Lee has put out since making his return to the music world, but for me RED DRAGON CARTEL and Patina is the most disappointing musical experience of 2018.

2.0 Out Of 5.0


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