Now some four decades since their original formation, Quiet Riot are back with a brand new studio album. The album, Road Rage, is the band’s first full length studio album since 2006’s Rehab. Quiet Riot hit it big back in the day when their best-selling album Metal Health topped the charts in 1983. Despite their decline in popularity, the band were able to stick together on and off until 2007 when singer Kevin DuBrow unexpectedly passed away. In 2010, drummer Frankie Banali decided to reunite the band with the surviving members of the band’s last line-up- guitarist Alex Grossi and bassist Chuck Wright. Over the course of seven years, the reunited band has had five different lead singers. Since late February of this year, former American Idol finalist James Durbin has been serving as front man. While it isn’t without its flaws, Road Rage is a very enjoyable album.
Right off the bat, the band are in fine form with the opening track, “Can’t Get Enough.” As for Durbin, he sounds great. Listening to the track, I can imagine DuBrow singing it. While his vocals are different from that of DuBrow’s, Durbin has a vocal range wide enough to make this work. Road Rage is very much a Quiet Riot album, with the album’s eleven tracks all featuring variations of the band’s sound. Road Rage sounds like it’s picking up where the band left off on later albums such as Guilty Pleasures and Rehab, both of which were better representations of the band’s sound compared to their slightly polished recordings from the 1980s. Songs such as the wah-wah infused “Wasted” and guitar-driven “Renegades” are examples of this. DuBrow and Banali shared a love for 1970s British rock- which can be heard on the bluesy “Getaway” and the Zeppelin-esque stoner themed “Roll This Joint.” My personal favorite from the album, however, is the melodic “Freak Flag.” Musically, the song is a throwback to the 1980’s glam metal scene that the band were a part of. Lyrically, the song is an anthem- with Durbin exclaiming “Let your freak flag fly!”
If the album had any drawbacks, it would be the production. The production isn’t exactly top notch, sometimes sounding a little on the cheap side. In the band’s defense, this album was originally recorded with another singer (Seann Nicols from Adler’s Appetite). For what the band was able to accomplish with James Durbin in that short amount of time is impressive. Sometimes, the album does benefit from the production. On some tracks, the sound is raw and it gives the music more of an edge. There are few weak songs on here, especially towards the end. Still, the album manages to close out nicely with the funky “Knock ‘Em Down.”
Overall, Road Rage is surprisingly fun album from the guys in Quiet Riot. I know there are still people who don’t accept this new version of the band. For many- Quiet Riot was always Kevin DuBrow, Frankie Banali, Carlos Cavazo and Rudy Sarzo. With Kevin no longer with us and Carlos and Rudy not participating, what’s the use in continuing the band? For those fans that are still skeptical, keep those thoughts aside and give this album a listen.