“Supergroups” are everywhere these days. Four By Fate is best known for its former members of Frehley’s Comet: Tod Howarth and John Regan. When they first formed, they also contained drummer Stet Howland (W.A.S.P.) and guitar master Sean Kelly. Pat Gasperini replaced Kelly, and A.J. Pero played drums on half the album before his untimely death. The band was completed by ex-Skid Row skinsman Rob Affuso.
Relentless is a beefy album, with 13 tracks including a handful of covers. The opener is John Waite’s “These Times Are Hard For Lovers” (co-written by maestro Desmond Child), and it’s decent. Frehley’s Comet fans will recognise Howarth’s lead vocals, though this band is harder than the Comet. Blasting through “Moonshine” and “Hangin’ On”, they got a nice heavy drum sound. It’s good to hear Affuso on an album again. Track four, “Levee Breach” is the first of six with A.J. Pero. It’s a little like a Stone Temple Pilots clone.
The next cover is a remake of “It’s Over Now” from the Comet’s 1988 album Second Sighting. Nothing is ever as good as the original, but if you wanted a heavier version of that power ballad, here ya go. (You can really hear those low piano keys.) Onto “Follow Me”, another one that sounds grungy. They went with such a “modern” sound on this album. Some might have expected more influences from the pop-smart 80s, the era most of these guys were rockin’.
“On My Own” has a cool Howarth riff and some befitting hooks. Grunge emerges again on “I Give”, and a partly acoustic song called “Don’t Know” is similarly dark and out of the 90s. Relentless almost sounds like an album written in 1994 or 1995, and not recorded until 2017. Then suddenly, “Back in the 80’s” has a Dio-like chug, and of course A.J. Pero on drums. Then it’s “Rock & Roll Hoochie Koo”, a really fun Derringer cover. They close the album on a strange patriotic ballad (two versions) called “Amber Waves”
The strength in Relentless is the musicianship. Howarth and Gasperini make a formidable guitar team, and we all know the reputations of guys like A.J. Pero and Rob Affuso. Musically, Four By Fate can face off against the big boys.