Album Review: Quiet Riot – Road Rage

By Sebastian Vazquez

When it was first noted that Quiet Riot would be coming out with a brand new album, I was initially excited. I mean, growing up, I definitely remember listening to a ton of glam rock hits including ‘Bang Your Head’ (Metal Health), and once I first delved into the band’s discography after performing the song in a cover band years ago, I became a fan.

It must be mentioned that Quiet Riot has spawned some incredibly historic hits from their debut album ‘Metal Health’, with ‘Bang Your Head’ and the Slade cover ‘Cum on Feel the Noize’. Those hits were enough to earn the band 6x platinum for the record over time, and their follow-up record ‘Condition Critical’ met the same fanfare going triple platinum, a successful first couple albums that easily cements their place in rock n’ roll history.

On the contrary, the band has undergone lineup changes, and more importantly, subpar records that didn’t sell well. Some of their later records were outright awful, receiving awful grading from critics alike. It must also be mentioned that other glam bands had taken the spotlight away from Quiet Riot, who were the first successful band to top the charts in the glam rock scene, and were eventually pushed aside by the likes of Motley Crue, Ratt, Poison, WASP, etc. It did not become a popularity contest because those bands were thrust into the spotlight by their respective record labels; they just simply put out better work.

After the death of vocalist Kevin Dubrow in 2007 due to a drug overdose the band had split up, eventually to reform to produce their last studio record ‘Quiet Riot Number 10’ and was in lead singer limbo for the last couple years. With their man in James Durbin, the American Idol contestant and finalist, the band seeks to revive their rock and roll attitude.

Upon first listen, the album ‘Road Rage’ doesn’t glitter. However, it does groove. With the opening track ‘Can’t Get Enough’, their new vocalist and the fairly simply guitar riffs easily thrust this band into the rock sound prevalent in the ’70s, a sound similar to soul rockers UFO and Whitesnake. It has the prototypical feel in classic rock n’ roll grove, and is prevalent throughout the album. A rock n’ roll blues feel that easily redresses this band out of glam and into something different, for them.

Exciting tracks such as ‘Freak Flag’ and ‘Wasted’ are easily among the stronger songs in the record. The rest of the album moves along, seemingly as if one song goes into another, with a slightly different riff and vocal melody.  ‘Renegades’ was easily my favorite track.

The album does not have any particular standout tracks that make you think that they will eventually become a Quiet Riot mainstay. You could call them filler tracks on your off day, but the new album beckons a listen to hear their new sound.

The absence of anything flashy really bums, but for the softer metal fans you might enjoy the record. I think their new vocalist is a great addition to the band, but the record fails to lift the band out of the shadows of their glory days. The band cites an arena rock vibe, which fits, but fails to evolve with the times. Metal these days sounds completely different than the stuff being produced in the ’80s, but if you kept up with the hard rock scene, you see little variation in sound. Just different bands with the same ol’ style and feel, which is fine. The varying colorations of rock n’ roll have definitely produced new standout performers,

Arena rock sounding bands, with their simplistic guitar riffs, and elementary guitar solos, compel to put on a show with a charismatic frontman and bright lights. I don’t mean to off arena rock as a genre, but with the lack of technicality and emphasis on groove and feel, the genre requires brilliant songwriting blended with superb showmanship. Unless this band performs with an absolute stage show, ‘Road Rage’ will eventually become the record with that American Idol guy, and nothing more.

Rating: 5/10

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Record Label: Frontiers
Release Date: August 4th 2017

Track Listing:
01. Can’t Get Enough (4:01)
02. Getaway (4:54)
03. Roll This Joint (4:31)
04. Freak Flag (4:02)
05. Wasted (4:45)
06. Still Wild (5:28)
07. Make a Way (4:31)
08. Renegades (5:38)
09. The Road (3:52)
10. Shame (3:52)
11. Knock ‘Em Down (4:24)

Total Duration: 49:58

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