Red Dragon Cartel – “Red Dragon Cartel” (Frontiers Records)
Red Dragon Cartel is none other than Jake E Lee – Ozzy Osbourne’s guitarist from 1982 – 87, recording both “Bark At The Moon” and “The Ultimate Sin” with the madman before moving on to form his own band – Badlands – so to many this is an amazing comeback given the relatively low profile Lee has kept for the last 15 years! Well, in my book that’s 15 years worth of songs and still having uber musicianship, “Red Dragon Cartel” is the album that anyone who remembers him will want as an essential purchase. Opening with ‘Deceiver’ Lee flicks his plectrum right at Sharon as he cranks out chords that are so close to ‘Bark At The Moon’ their lawyers must be already shuffling about uncomfortably – brilliant ha ha! Musically it’s a cross between his two bands being a mixture of 80s guitar metal n hard rock as his talented guitar work drives and dances around a string of vocalists from Cheap Trick’s Robin Zander on ‘Feeder’ – who also does a good take on Ozzy (Sharrrrrrron!!! lol – Ed) – to Paul Di’Anno on the aptly titled ‘Wasted’. With Sass Jordan and Five Finger Death Punch’s Jeremy Spencer taking ‘War Machine’ back to Sabbath era Ozzy and In This Moment’s Maria Brink bringing in a dark, alt groove on ‘Big Mouth’ Lee’s reputation has brought in a respected cast including Pantera’s Rex Rocker and Scott Reeder of Kyuss to feature on a guest list that could rival any of Ozzy’s backstage queues. I am so glad this guy is back!!! Classic or modern, Lee’s work is nothing short of his outstanding legacy on this fine album that goes beyond mesmerizing technicality to just rock you out – easy to see why there was no doubt in everyone’s minds that he was – and still is – the worthy successor to Randy Rhodes!