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Released: 2014, Frontiers Records
Super groups have long been a reliable fall back for record labels and veteran musicians looking to reignite interest and/or sales. The problem’s always been that super groups rarely live up to the hype afforded them. Well, allow me to introduce one of the few that actually DO live up to expectations – the newly minted Rated X. You would think that a band featuring the likes of Joe Lynn Turner, Carmine Appice, and Tony Franklin would arrive bearing ridiculous amounts of pre-release chatter, but I’ve found just the opposite with this band – a shockingly little amount of hype. Either way, with talent like that in the band, my own personal interest level was definitely high! The band is filled out by Karl Cochran on guitar, although the majority of the guitar tracks for the album were laid down by Nikolo Kotzev (see band info at right).
If you looked at the members of Rated X, you might be forgiven for expecting the album to sound like classic hard rock, but in truth, that’s exactly what RATED X delivers – pure, Rainbow-styled heavy rock. The band smartly stays within the idiom fans expect of them, delivering 12 cuts of hard rock heaven. From rollicking tracks like “Fire and Ice”, to bass showcase “Peace of Mind, to solid ballads like “You Are the Music”, the band plays to their strengths. Joe Lynn Turner’s vocals are still as strong as ever at age 63, while Cochran and Kotzev burn up the fret boards in a way that would make Richie Blackmore proud. As for the other two, I don’t think you could ever find a better rhythm section than Franklin and Appice.
It’s true that some songs don’t quite work (the lumbering “Lhasa” comes to mind), but all in all RATED X is thoroughly enjoyable. Rated X is one of the few super groups that actually lives up to expectations. This album is an easy buy for fans of any of these guys.
1. Get Back My Crown
2. This Is Who I Am
3. Fire and Ice
4. I Don’t Cry No More
6. Devil In Disguise
7. You are the Music
8. Peace of Mind
9. Maybe Tonight
10. On the Way to Paradise
11. Our Love Is Not Over
12. Stranger In Us All
Joe Lynn Turner: Vocals
Karl Cochran: Guitar on all except as noted below
Tony Franklin: Bass
Carmine Appice: Drums
Nikolo Kotzev: Guitar on 8, 9, 11; Lead Guitar on 4 and 12
Daniel Palmquist: Guitar on 7
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