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Quiet Riot: Road Rage
Quiet Riot - Road Rage CD Album Review

Quiet Riot: Road Rage

Melodic Hard Rock
5.0/5.0

Iconic American heavy metal band Quiet Riot makes their return with their thirteenth studio album, Road Rage and a new vocalist in James Durbin. Do know that name? I hope so. A fourth runner up in American Idol season ten, Durbin sang Livin' After Midnight and Breaking the Law with Judas Priest in the season finale of the popular talent show. Apparently, Durbin is a huge fan of classic rock and metal and so makes him a good fit for Quiet Riot.

Quiet Riot Band Photo

Quiet Riot

To be fair, while I had Metal Health, famous for the wildly popular single of the same name, and Condition Critical back in the day, I was never a huge fan of the band, and so I didn't follow them after that latter disc. But Road Rage with Durbin at the mic has renewed my interest. This is a solid album of melodic hard rock with a light metal edge and a touch of blues to boot. At first I thought the album got off to a slow start. It just wasn't connecting with me. Yet moving through it and with a subsequent spin or two more, I was getting into the Quiet Riot groove and digging Durbin's exceptional vocal skill and range. He has some real passion and definitely a latent blues edge to his timbre.

But groove may be the most appropriate description for the songs within Road Rage. While the metal edge might be slight in the songs, the rock, rhythm, and groove are not. Songs like Can't Get Enough, Freak Flag (a favorite), Wasted (another favorite), and Make A Way are some damn catchy toe-tapping groove monsters. Then there's Getaway, a song with Middle Eastern instrumental opening that moves into an almost funk rock groove. It's also a great song to hear how Durbin's vocals follow the melody, rhythm, and groove of each song. There's something of a ballad or anthem with The Road, another song that delivers a catchy melody and groove, a fine Alex Grossi guitar solo (which are abundant here), and a grand Durbin vocal performance. Is there a song here that's more heavy metal? Possibly Renegades could favor a heavier sharper edge. I simply hear more of that (not so subtle) blues theme in many songs, definitely within Knock em Down and Shame. While there's little to fault in this album, I found Still Wild, a churning heavier number, to be somewhat tedious in its pacing. Nevertheless, in the context ten other fine songs, it fits just fine.

Quiet Riot's Road Rage is great return to form for this iconic hard rock band. They sound newly inspired and fresh for the new century. I think new vocalist James Durbin may have had something to do with that. If so, Quiet Riot better hang on to him. Easily recommended.



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The Bottom Line

Quiet Riot's Road Rage is great return to form for this iconic hard rock band. They sound newly inspired and fresh for the new century. I think new vocalist James Durbin may have had something to do with that. If so, Quiet Riot better hang on to him. Easily recommended.

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