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Light In The Dark - Revolution Saints

Revolution Saints took Third Place honors on the Dr. Music Album of the Year list with their 2015 debut, and their return was something I wasn’t quite sure was ever going to happen. Shortly after the release of that sensational first record, vocalist/drummer Deen Castronovo battled addiction issues and found himself in trouble with his life and the law. It was looking like a second album might not happen. Fast forward to the current day and we find Castronovo putting his life back together, with bandmates Jack Blades and Doug Aldrich supporting their friend and putting out another incredible set of songs they call Light In The Dark. 

If you were a fan of the debut album or simply a fan of melodic rock that leans toward the Journey sound, this will be your own private Heaven. The strongest element in the Rev Saints repertoire (and there are many many strong elements) is the style of songwriting. This is classic melodic rock done in an 80’s style, with really strong hooks and harmonies. Fans of Journey, Styx, Night Ranger, Boston, and REO will hear this and say, “Finally! Something that sounds like the classic rock I grew up with!” For those familiar with the band’s previous work, you can look for more of the same formula here. The band isn’t breaking new ground or experimenting, and you should see that as a very good thing. This is a band that does catchy melodic rock, and they do it as well as anyone ever has. With most of this being upbeat and inspirational, there is a darker, more serious tone to “Freedom”. It’s a step in a more solemn direction, but it still sports a hook big enough to land Jaws. We get two solid piano-based ballads here, with “I Wouldn’t Change A Thing” displaying everything that’s great about this band. When I spoke to guitarist Doug Aldrich, he sited the solo in this song as one of the best he’s ever recorded. Yeah, it’s that good. The rest of the album is packed with songs that will have you singing, smiling, and playing your favorite air instrument.

Photo by Johnny Pixel

Now, on to the things that really make this extra special — the musicianship. Deen Castronovo is really something to marvel at. He is obviously a highly skilled drummer, playing with Journey for more than 15 years, and doing stints with names like Steve Vai, Bad English, and Ozzy Osbourne, to name just a few. What might shock you is his vocal skill. His voice is eerily similar to Steve Perry’s when placed inside of these songs. Close your eyes and listen to the title track or “I Wouldn’t Change A Thing” and you’ll be transported back to Journey’s Escape album. I think he’s even stronger on these songs than he was on the debut, and that’s saying a lot. 

Then there’s a guy named Jack Blades staying pretty quiet in the background here.
Blades, as we know from his decades as part of Night Ranger, is a fantastic songwriter. We get those skills, but we also get Jack Blades the bass player. I was a big fan of his Rubicon days, where funk was the top item on the menu. This doesn’t have the up front funk playing that Rubicon afforded him, but we still get to hear Blades as a rock solid bassist.

Doug Aldrich is a complete monster.
If you have been yearning for classic rock or hard rock guitar solos in the music you listen to, this will emphatically satisfy that hunger. Aldrich is razor sharp with frenetic runs and melodic licks that bend and shape these songs into something incredibly special. I think he walks the line of “overplaying” perfectly. I’ve always thought that (Steve Perry-era) Journey held Neal Schon back from showing his extreme guitar talent. He always plays well within the parameters of the song, which is a beautiful thing, but I do miss him playing the more progressive guitar style he had on display with the first two Journey records. Aldrich stays within the parameters of these songs, but just barely. He takes the fiery riffs and punishing solos to the edge over and over, and gets them to work every time. You get a little shred, a little tapping, and tons of crisp riffs and passionate solos. Perfectly played, Mr. Aldrich.

For all the people that say that today’s rock music isn’t like the music they had growing up, you NEED to hear this. I don’t want to hear it anymore. This is exactly like the music you grew up with, and even better than a lot of it. Get the CD and open it, get the vinyl and crack it open, hell, get a damn file and open that sucker up. However you choose to hear it, remember to open your mind and your soul to this album, and you will fall in love with classic rock all over again. 


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