Mollo/Martin – The Third Cage (2012, Frontiers Records)
1. Wicked World … 4:40
2. Cirque du Freak … 4:13
3. Oh My Soul … 5:13
4. One of the Few … 4:01
5. Still In Love With You … 4:21
6. Can’t Stay Here … 4:08
7. Wardance … 6:00
8. Don’t Know What It Is About You … 4:55
9. Blind Fury … 5:06
10. Violet Moon … 7:38
Tony Martin – Vocals
Dario Mollo – Guitars, Bass, Keyboards
Roberto Gualdi – Drums
Fulvio Gaslini – Bass
Dario Patti – Keyboards
Brian War – Keyboards
If you’ve been following this blog for any decent amount of time or have conversed with me on message boards or Facebook, you’ve probably realized that I’m a big fan of Tony Martin. I rank his run in Sabbath second only to the great Ronnie James Dio. That said, I haven’t heard any of his side-projects or guest spots on other albums and have only heard the latest of his two solo albums (leaving 1992’s Back Where I Belong on my bucket list).
Dario Mollo, on the other hand, I know next to nothing about this Italian guitarist. Looking at his official website and the Frontiers website, I can tell you that he was in a metal band in the ’80s called Crossbones and in 2000 & 2005 released albums under the Voodoo Hill name with the legendary Glenn Hughes on vocals (I really need to check those albums out). He also did a UK tour as a member of the “Graham Bonnet & Don Airey Band”.
Also during this time is when “The Cage” series of albums came to be. Dario recruited Tony Martin to sing on and write lyrics for 1999’s The Cage and they paired up again in 2004 for The Cage 2. I was made aware of both of these projects awhile back and while I’ve seen good reviews for them, I never picked them up because they are, unfortunately, out of print and very expensive (I think I’ll pass on spending $80-$140 for a CD!). Well, at least now I am able to listen to the latest Cage album!
The first thing I noticed is that Tony Martin has not lost a step over the years. He sounds just as good here as he did on The Eternal Idol or Headless Cross. Not that I expected anything less because he sounded excellent on Scream as well. As for Dario, well, if you’ve got Glenn Hughes, Tony Martin, Graham Bonnet and Don Airey willing and wanting to work with you — then you know you’re pretty good at what you do. Some very nice solos and riffing going on here.
Though the album starts off heavy with “Wicked World” , “Cirque Du Freak” & “Oh My Soul” (the last two sound like they could’ve come from a Sabbath album with Tony), there’s a variety of styles to be found on this album. “One of the Few”, “Can’t Stay Here” and “Don’t Know What It Is About You” are all melodic rockers, taking Tony back to his musical roots and still displaying him as being just as comfortable singing these types of songs as he is singing heavy metal. “Still In Love With You” is heavy with an epic Middle Eastern-flair to it. “Wardance” is probably my favorite track on the album with the tribal rhythm of the drums and it’s just too catchy (“WAR!…DANCE!”). “Blind Fury” may be the heaviest track on the album while “Violet Moon” is a beautiful, near-trippy ballad that closes out the album.
There’s really not a bad track on this album. With each spin (and there’s been quite a few of them) I’ve grown to appreciate each song more and more but “Still In Love With You”, “Can’t Stay Here”, “Wardance” and “Don’t Know What It Is About You” were the instant standouts when I first listened.
How does The Third Cage compare to the first two Mollo/Martin albums? Don’t ask me! But I do know that Dario & Tony have delivered a great blend of hard rock, metal and melodic rock that has me wanting to snatch up whatever else Dario has done and has me wishing for even more new Tony Martin music.
Highlights: “Cirque Du Freak”, “One of the Few”, “Still In Love With You”, “Can’t Stay Here”, “Wardance”, “Don’t Know What It Is About You”, “Violet Moon”