REVIEW: BLOOD RED SAINTS – “Speedway”
Look what the cat dragged in! Being a heavy metal aficionado since I started growing pubic hair, and being a heavy metal journalist since 2012, I was surprised (maybe even traumatized) when I was asked to review the debut album of British glam-influenced melodic rock band Blood Red Saints, entitled ‘Speedway’. I began listening to the album with my disposition to being a hard-assed pessimist right up the ladder, and to my utmost surprise, the album inspired a sense of musical euphoria which actually got me listening to the glorious bands of the much-criticized glam metal scene of the 80’s. After a week or two of ‘shouting with the devil’, I was ready (at least in my head) to listen to Speedway once again with seasoned ears.
Blood Red Saints consists of Pete Godfrey (vocals), Lee Revill (guitars), Rob Naylor (bass) and Pete Newdeck (drums) and were formed in late 2014, with ‘Speedway’ releasing on the 4th of December, 2015. The album opens with “Kickin’ Up Dust” which has got a bitchin’ riff and an anthemic chorus. “Kickin’ Up Dust” is followed by “Mercy” which has an ascending chromatic riff giving the song a very “Kashmir”-ish feel which then shifts into a very melodic arpeggiated pattern when the vocals kick in. “Dangerous” also uses a similar guitar pattern with an acoustic intro.
The album succeeds in embracing a strong melodic rock structure throughout whilst making every song different in its own unique way. “Better Days”, “Wrapped Up In These Arms”, “Unbreakable” and “Feels A Lot Like Love” are your typical glam metal songs that exude frivolity and childishness, with a small bluesy guitar lick in the middle of “Unbreakable”. “Love Set Me Up Again” is the quintessential power ballad with a beautiful chorus and a power outro, but the highlight ‘Speedway’ in my opinion is “CGNR” which is a one minute instrumental with brilliant coordination between the bassist and the guitarist and the incorporation of scintillating psychedelic chords. “Best Of Me” opens with a strings intro and is extremely haunting. The album finally closes with “Faith”, which is a piano ballad.
‘Speedway’ is a rock-solid effort especially for a debut, and everything on the album is perfect, but it would be a crime if I did not mention Godfrey’s vocal magic and Revill’s guitar wizardry. Godfrey’s voice is (for lack of a better word) magnanimously rich , and you can actually feel the depth of his voice in the song “Best Of Me”. As for Revill, I can actually raise him to the pedestal where glam guitar gods like Doug Aldrich, Mick Mars, John Roth and Reb Beach stand on. The riffs are crisp and confident with solos oozing out like lather from a stripper’s body, and the entire sound of the album is further accentuated by stellar production.
Listening to ‘Speedway’ helped broaden my auditory horizons, embrace glam and put it in my musical mind-space along with the other genres that are of paramount importance to me. Living with bands like Ratt, Poison, Quiet Riot, Twisted Sister and Motley Crue for the better part of a month magically showed me minute glimpses of a life where I was sitting inside the Whiskey-a-Go-Go, chugging a bottle of Jack Daniels with a cocktail waitress polishing my hog under the table whilst watching those bands tear the stage asunder with their glorious riffs and on-stage eccentricities.
Blood Red Saints actually made me feel guilty that I came to know about Brett Michaels and Tommy Lee through their sextapes and not through their musical prowess. On the whole, this album is one of the best things that ever happened to me and one of the best things that ever happened to glam metal. I hope to see more from these guys in the future.