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Red Dragon Cartel: Patina
Red Dragon Cartel - Patina Music Review

Red Dragon Cartel: Patina

Melodic Hard Rock
3.5/5.0

Holy shit. Where does the time go? It's been nearly five years since guitarist Jake E. Lee came out of hibernation to cut an album. The master guitarist, known for his stint with that Ozzy guy, introduced us to his new band project Red Dragon Cartel and more of his fiery guitar tricks. Now Lee returns with his second effort Patina, once more accompanied by Harem Scarem vocalist Darren James Smith.

Red Dragon Cartel Band Photo Click For Larger Image

Red Dragon Cartel

Without saying, Patina is a showcase for both Lee's songwriting talent and guitar skills. Perhaps, if you're something of an overachieving reductionist, you can listen to the album in those two parts. The songs as a whole sway between melodic hard and heavy rock. The former turns upon catchy rock beat and groove, the latter simply upon steady heaviness inflicted by a tough rhythm section. The proverbial wild card in the mix is the not-so-subtle blues texture.

Amidst all this is the second component, Lee's ambitious and versatile fret work. If anything there's nothing "subtle" about Lee's guitar work. When it comes to riffs, they are equally sharp and bold. Songs such as Speedbag, Bitter, and The Luxury Of Breathing are good examples of simple raw power. Alternatively, mixing in some of that blues fusion, Lee spins his licks with the bass line as within Ink & Water or Chasing Ghosts, the latter then rumbling along with stoner-like hypnotic groove. Then there's A Painted Heart, where Lee and friends back off from the gusto for a lighter, slow burning, song that, except for the late spirited solo, may simply bore you silly. But, additionally, I found both the blues latent Punchdown and My Beautiful Mess, also quite tedious, again, excepting Lee's fine solos.

Nevertheless, regardless of my observations or opinions, Red Dragon Cartel is Jake Lee's musical voice. Ergo, when it comes to his song composition and guitar expression, the only one Lee has to please is himself. I guessing he's a pretty damn happy camper right now.


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The Bottom Line

Regardless of my observations or opinions, Red Dragon Cartel is Jake Lee's musical voice. Ergo, when it comes to his song composition and guitar expression, the only one Lee has to please is himself. I guessing he's a pretty damn happy camper right now.

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