Let me first start by saying, I’ve always considered myself an open-minded person, especially when it comes to music. I’m not opposed to bands carrying on with new lineups that are far from the original – hell, I once even wrote a positive review of one of Skid Row’s semi-recent, Sebastian Bach-less releases! And those who know me, know I’ve been flying the flag for ‘80s metal with no shame for decades now; but this new effort from Quiet Riot (if you can even call them that anymore) is, quite frankly, just sad.
Road Rage was originally set to be released earlier this year, with the vocals handled by Seann Nicols. But that was scarped in order to re-record it with former American Idol contestant James Durbin. I actually heard the version with Nicols (which wasn’t completely terrible), and pushing that aside to make way for this, was their first mistake. Still, had they not made the change in singers, what’s left here is nothing more than painfully generic, with production qualities so awful, it sounds as if it was recorded by a garage band that’s just starting out. Even the cover artwork is embarrassingly amateur to look at. The only people who aren’t going to notice how bad songs like “Freak Flag” and “Can’t Get Enough” really are, are the middle-aged, drunken bar hags that still go to see bands like Quiet Riot and don’t give a damn about what they’re listening to as long as they’re buzzed (and wouldn’t have the first clue what good music is anyway).
I should also clarify that I’ve actually seen Quiet Riot live myself, back in 2006 (ironically on the same bill with the previously-mentioned version of Skid Row, with then-singer Johnny Solinger in place of Bach). Luckily when I did, it was while Kevin DuBrow was still alive (rest in peace); I wouldn’t bother to see this incarnation of the band even if it was free. There’s plenty of bands from the same era as them, still touring successfully and making records that, at the very least, are still listenable. I hate to say it, but Quiet Riot have now reached the point of an old dog that’s dying a slow, painful death, just waiting to be put out of it’s misery. If only drummer Frankie Banali would put his ego aside, and finally let this band rest in peace.