We’ve had a couple strong new releases in a row here of late: The new Helix and Judas Priest albums have been particularly great.
I guess two out of three ain’t bad.
QUIET RIOT – 10 (2014 iTunes or Amazon mp3 download)
I’ve made no secret of my dislike for the happenings in Quiet Riot recently. I find their current reunion, with no original members, to be tenuous at best. Singer after singer, Quiet Riot stumbled onwards before finally hiring Jizzy Pearl of Love/Hate and Ratt fame. With Pearl they’ve managed to record an album. 10 is the name of that album, another thing I find a little disrespectful. The name 10 seems to me to imply it’s their 10th album. It’s not; all fans know Metal Health was their third, not first, album. This seems to play into an earlier attempt to re-write the Quiet Riot related Wikipedia pages to state that Metal Health was the band’s first record. Why? I can only speculate that this is done to promote the current Quiet Riot as having “original members”, when in fact they have none.
However, I’m going to listen with open ears, because that’s what I’m here to do.
First track, “Rock in Peace” is one I like quite a lot. What I don’t like is the muddy, muddy sound. The drums sound like they’re in another room. It’s too bad because I think the song has potential. As for Jizzy, it’s easy to adjust to him as lead singer of Quiet Riot. Although he doesn’t sound like the late Kevin DuBrow too much, he does have certain screamy qualities in common with DuBrow. This enables him to adapt to the Quiet Riot sound. The lyrics quote the band’s biggest original hit, “Metal Health”, which is alright. Halford’s quoted himself before too. OK, so production aside, not bad.
“Bang For Your Buck” has some tasty guitar by the talented Alex Grossi, making his first Quiet Riot album appearance here. Unfortunately the otherwise fine song is held back by Jizzy, overreaching and straining. Grossi really does redeem the song especially with the solo…but damn this album sounds muddy. Congested. Like I have a head cold while listening to it.
Third in line is the weird titled “Backside of Water”. I don’t know what that title means, and since this is a digital release, there are no lyrics. It smokes along nicely, with more fantastic Grossi guitars, but it’s an unremarkable song that doesn’t sound like Quiet Riot, except in the sense that Quiet Riot has a lot of unremarkable songs. The Ratt-like “Back on You” is outtake quality. I’m sensing that the guys think they can just throw a shout-AC/DC-style chorus on something and call it catchy, but it doesn’t work that way.
“Band Down” is what you’d call a “down n’ dirty” rocker. I’d call it dull, and poor sounding. I think they’re trying to recapture that “Stay With Me Tonight” vibe, but without a memorable chorus. But “Dog Bone Alley” is worse, absolutely sunk by horrendous backing vocals. It has a slinky, heavy groove, and some smokin’ guitars, but that’s not enough to build a song with.
Alex Grossi, Jizzy Pearl, Frankie Banali, Chuck Wright
Quiet Riot’s biggest stumbling block has always been songwriting. That’s why some of their biggest hits are covers. Quiet Riot 10 continues that frustrating tradition. Just like albums such as Alive and Well had some good songs and solid moments, so is Quiet Riot 10. And that’s only six songs!
What Quiet Riot did to make a full album is include four live songs, kinda taking a page out of the ZZ Top book, a-la Fandango! These tracks are all obscurities, songs not available in live versions before. They all feature Kevin DuBrow, but could Frankie have not found better sounding recordings? From Quiet Riot III is a horrid sounding version of “Put Up or Shut Up”. This is bootleg quality, and not even good bootleg quality. Too bad; sounds like it was a good version. Then, from the stinky Rehab CD comes an unnecessary “Free”. So it’s heavy, whoop-de-do. It’s a shitty song, and the vocals are so damn distorted at times that it sounds as if Kevin’s under water. “South of Heaven” too suffers from these sonic defects. It seems like they were going for a Zeppelin “Nobody’s Fault But Mine” kind of vibe, but as if the mothership crashed into “The Ocean”. (See what I did there?) Kevin even yelps, “Push, push!” It’s a shame because Frankie really is a smokin’ drummer.
The final track is a nine minute rock n’ roll medley. This is a great jam. Humble Pie’s “Red Light Mama, Red Hot!” is a great little obscure choice. Kevin sounds like he’s having a blast. Actually the whole band sound like they’re having more fun here than they were playing their own originals. This seques into other more familiar hits, still harkening back to that old British blues rock sound.
Live many albums of Quiet Riots past, 10 stumbles and fails at times, while producing pleasing hard rock surprises at others. The sonic issues are a surprise to me. I hope a physical CD release, if there is to be one, would improve the sound.
1. “Rock in Peace” 4:00
2. “Bang For Your Buck” 3:52
3. “Backside of Water” 4:18
4. “Back on You” 3:24
5. “Band Down” 3:17
6. “Dogbone Alley” 4:29
7. “Put Up or Shut Up” 4:18
8. “Free” 4:05
9. “South of Heaven” 5:25
10. “Rock ‘n’ Roll Medley” 9:22
For further reading, check out Jon Wilmenius’ review of Quiet Riot 10.