Sunday, April 10, 2011

Dead Star Renegade - Blackwing

Dead Star Renegade
Interceptor Records

Although having only come together a couple of years ago, Melbourne (Victoria, Australia) based outfit Dead Star Renegade are hardly newcomers to the scene, with all of the members having been involved in a number of outfits over the last fifteen years.
Not surprisingly, that experience is immediately evident in the band’s debut full-length effort ‘Blackwing’, which boasts all the essential ingredients required for a classic hard rock album, without sounding like its well and truly past its use by date.
The opening track ‘Born To Lose’ is a big riff filled monster of a track with Matt Owen and Vik Kundra giving the band plenty of power on the guitar front, while bassist Tim Dobie and drummer Jay Pizzey provide the all-important backline. But the real star of the show here is vocalist Jimmy VanZeno, who is able to keep things melodic enough to catch the ear of the listener, but at the same time keep enough of a raw edge on proceedings to ensure those who simply want something to rock out to, can indeed enjoy the song for its huge collective rocking sound.
‘Supersonic’ retains the groove and riffs of the opener with its big sing-a-long choruses and flourishes of guitar shredding, while ‘Tommy Gun’ (The album’s first official single) ups the ante in terms of pacing and energy, and is a stand out with a powerhouse performance from VanZeno out front.
The slower paced ‘Time Standing’ is another strong cut with its infectious chorus and the song’s swing back and forth between gentle and hard rocking passages, while on the title track ‘Blackwing’ and ‘The Serpent’, the songs showcase a greater progressive influence rising to the surface within their overall hard rock sound.
‘20 To Life’, ‘One More Time’ and the fast paced ‘Outta My Head’ are the kind of straight forward rocking anthems that would sound perfect performed live in front of a audience, while ‘Tidal’ closes out the album with a song that’s mid-paced and moody, but nonetheless a mood that perfectly captures the essence of what Dead Star Renegade are all about.
Although the production (Handled by Ricki Rae, who’s worked with Electric Mary in recent times) is a little too clean at times, overall ‘Blackwing’ is an impressive slab of modern hard rock, and the ideal release for Dead Star Renegade to introduce themselves.
The Melbourne music scene has produced some impressive acts over the years, and the latest name to add to that ever increasing list is Dead Star Renegade. They’re the kind of quality act where success isn’t so much a matter of if, but only when.

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© Justin Donnelly