Revolution Saints – S/T


On the one had, the flame might occasionally splutter…

Review by Brian McGowan


Release date: 20 February 2015

Frontiers’ impossible quest for the Melodic Rock Holy Grail – a reincarnation of Journey, 1980-86 – continues unabated with yet another project, an alliance of Night Ranger, Bad English and Whitesnake alumni. These recordings are produced, orchestrated and partly written by the label’s inhouse musician and producer, Alessandro DelVecchio, a man for whom the deification of the Journey sound is clearly something to be pursued with a relentless religious intensity.

Doug Aldrich, Deen Castronovo and Jack Blades may not seem the ideal supergroup. On paper, Blades’ arena rock tendencies would seem to clash with Aldrich’s mix of blues licks and hard rock shredding, but a bunch of anodyne rock songs, armed with undemanding lyrical narratives ensure this apparent conflict of styles never becomes an issue.

That aside, you could argue that it is strongly in Del Vecchio’s favour that he doesn’t dare mess with the original template. But in reality, he has not been hired to incorporate evolution in the recordings. To that limited end, he’s met his brief. A few songs, especially ‘Turn Back Time’ and ‘How To Mend A Broken Heart’ almost capture the rapturous drive, urgency and musicality of the best AOR of the eighties. Almost, but not quite. And there’s the dilemma. It’s a bit like looking through the wrong end of a telescope… what you’re looking for is there, but distant, elementary. All that’s been learned… picked up, examined, held close… in the last 30 years is ignored. But does it sound like Journey? Yes it does, in the way that the Steve Augeri and Arnel Pineda led-bands sound like Journey.

Yet Castronovo is probably the closest you’ll get to Perry. His duet with Pineda, who guests on ‘You’re Not Alone’ is one the album’s highpoints, mainly because of a sultry melody and a surprising sense of adventure and sophistication – the very thing that Perry was aiming for on Raised On Radio. Occasionally, the production reverts to formula. The Del Vecchio formula. An all too frequent one-size-fits-all production style that tends to squeeze some of the life from ordinary songs like ‘Locked Out Of Paradise’ and ‘Way To The Sun’. Even a couple of the better songs, like ‘Don’t Walk Away’ and ‘Back On My Trail’ get dragged down and submerged in that murky sameness.

Ironically then, it’s only the songs that truly make a decent fist of mimicking that famous sound that really stand out, and the bouncy, upbeat ‘Dream On’ and the inevitable big ballad, ‘In The Name Of The Father’ are probably the picks. Revolution Saints couldn’t hold a candle to the real thing, but like it or not, they carry the Journey torch aloft through the album’s 12 tracks and 53 minutes. The flame might occasionally splutter, but it still burns bright.

Revolution Saints  - 20156 out of 10

Track Listing:

  1. Back On My Trail
  2. Turn Back Time
  3. You’re Not Alone
  4. Locked Out Of paradise
  5. Way To The Sun
  6. Dream On
  7. Don’t Walk Away
  8. Here Forever
  9. Strangers To This Life
  10. Better World
  11. How To Mend A Broken Heart
  12. In The Name Of The Father