Light In The Dark
As a self-proclaimed Metalhead, the diversity of my tastes, or lack thereof, have repeatedly metamorphosed, with the extremities of my youth ultimately being counter-balanced by an increasingly erratic, ADHD-induced array of Hard Rock, Metalcore and, as I’ve begrudgingly aged and ‘matured’, AOR. Among my most fervent of obsessions in this regard is legendary San Francisco, California-born icons Journey and their various offspring (most notably multi-Platinum icons Bad English and the often underrated The Storm). Armed with an already painstakingly-documented penchant for soaring, multi-octave harmonies and poignant lyrics, even the incessant overplaying of “Don’t Stop Believin’” failed to subtract from my quasi-gleeful enjoyment. Thus, when I found myself re-acquainted with the Jack Blades/Doug Aldrich/Deen Catronovo-fueled Revolution Saints and their latest–and quite possibly greatest–sonic masterpiece Light In The Dark, I was more than happy to over-indulge.
On the stellar Light In The Dark (2017), an expertly assembled eleven song collection of refreshingly AOR-infused Melodic Hard Rock, each track, beginning with the fist-pumping, mosh-inducing (!) “Freedom” and the maddeningly infectious tirade “Ride On”, immediately commands the rapt and undivided attention of all parties involved, myself most definitely included. Armed with an ‘inexplicably extensive’ resume that includes both live and/or recorded contributions to Journey, Night Ranger and Whitesnake coursing through their veins, the group scores major points early and often without treading too heavily on the dulcet strains of yore. Wisely attempting to capitalizing on the release of their stunning self-titled debut (2015), the group unleashes a seamless blend of soaring, multi-octave vocals, blistering fretwork and imaginatively punishing rhythms. Wasting little–if any–time with the bloated excesses of their MTV heyday, the group scores ‘major points’ with only minimal exertion.
Continuing with the relentlessly pummeling lament “Don’t Surrender” and the impossibly hook-laden “Take You Down”, the steadfast–to say the very least–combination of bassist/vocalist Jack Blades (Damn Yankees, Night Ranger, Shaw/Blades), guitarist Doug Aldrich (Burning Rain, House Of Lords, Whitesnake) and, perhaps most significantly, lead vocalist/drummer Deen Castronovo (Bad English, Journey, Ozzy Osbourne) steamrolls ahead with what can only be described as a unique, sickening ease. Boldly re-enforcing their rightful place amid the hierarchy of the modern Melodic Hard Rock sub-genre, the group flexes their creative muscles early and often, yielding a series of curiously uplifting excursions. With acclaimed Producer and co-writer Alessandro Del Vecchio (Hardline, Jorn, Sunstorm) offering his trademark tonalities and Castronovo effortlessly channeling his ‘inner’ Steve Perry, the group drives home each key focal point by pandering to their notoriously rabid fan bases.
Fortified throughout by a series of live bonus tracks and a DVD containing a ‘Making Of’ documentary and videos for first single “Light In The Dark” and the often soaring “I Wouldn’t Change A Thing”, other standouts, including the understandably obligatory–yet deftly-executed–Power Ballad “Can’t Run Away From Love” and the smoldering, equally impressive closer “Falling Apart” offer a veritable wealth of further sonic evidence in support of their collective lyrical and compositional ingenuities. Although one might effectively argue that the quasi-manufactured premise of the group (Frontiers Records founder Serafino Perugino had been searching for a project that would be capable properly showcasing Castronovo’s woefully-underrated vocal talents) ultimately subtracts from their ability to succeed on their own Gold and multi-Platinum merits, the end results of their more-than-considerable efforts are truly nothing short of extraordinary and deserve to be consumed accordingly.
But why should you really care? With the majority–if not all–of the decidedly tuneful, user-friendly wares contained herein seemingly guaranteed to appeal to generation-defying cross-section of enthusiasts, much of the group’s charisma lies within their ability to re-create the unnervingly memorable histrionics of yore. Even if you somehow find yourself less than enthralled with the group’s more-than-considerable AOR and Melodic Rock tendencies, one must, at the very least, sincerely admire the group’s ability to ‘deliver’ the proverbial ‘goods’ amid a commercial environment best suited for the Pop and Hip-Hop-propelled banalities of the mainstream. As a result, if you’ve once again found yourself in search of a refreshingly forthright (and, for that matter, entirely memorable) alternative to the painfully mindless din and clatter that is so often force fed en mass, then this, my friends, might just be the high-octane counterirritant for whatever ails you. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed.