Quiet Riot – Road Rage
2017, Frontier Records
- Can’t Get Enough
- Roll This Joint
- Freak Flag
- Still Wild
- Make a Way
- The Road
- Knock ‘Em Dead
James Durbin – Lead Vocals
Alex Grossi – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Chuck Wright – Bass, Backing Vocals
Frankie Banali – Drums
Producer: Frankie Banali
It’s hard to listen to anyone singing in Quiet Riot these days. No one sounds like the late Kevin DuBrow. DuBrow was a signature voice of his era and genre and is one of the greatest rock singers of all time. Some voices really ARE the band and without that voice you lose quite a bit of magic and appeal. That’s been the case of Quiet Riot ever since DuBrow passed away in 2007. Since that time, drummer Frankie Banali has kept the band alive with bassist Chuck Wright (whose QR contributions date back to the Metal Health era) and guitarist Alex Grossi (whose first outing with the band was in 2004) at his side.
Okay, but what about a singer? Yeah, about that… Quiet Riot has run through FIVE singers since DuBrow’s passing. The biggest names being journeyman singer Jizzy Pearl from 2013 to 2016 and the band’s current singer James Durbin. Durbin was previously a contestant on American Idol and released a few solo albums before joining the band in March 2017. In between the tenures of Pearl and Durbin was Seann Nichols. Road Rage was originally recorded with Nichols on vocals, but when he left the band shortly before the album was due to be released, Banali decided to scrap that release and re-record the vocals with Durbin. I’m not sure how much of a hand (if any) Seann Nichols had in the writing of these songs, but it’s my understanding that James Durbin supplied only vocals to an album that was already written and recorded. Didn’t Anthrax and Black Sabbath go through this same sort of thing?
I have to admit, I was fully prepared to dislike this album. I was not impressed when the band release “Freak Flag” as a single. I didn’t like the production and I didn’t think Durbin was a good fit. Durbin does not have a powerful voice like DuBrow’s, it is a nasally higher-pitch style that would be better suited for a Motley Crue cover band rather than the actual Quiet Riot.
But, hey, at least this album is readily available thanks in part to the band having signed with Frontier Records. I still have never heard anything from their 2014 digital-only self-release of Quiet Riot 10, which featured Jizzy Pearl in the studio w/ live DuBrow tracks, so I can only compare this album to 2005’s Rehab, which was their last release with DuBrow. Musically, Road Rage isn’t too far off from Rehab. The songs are stripped-down meat & potatoes rock ‘n’ roll with a bluesy influence. They aren’t trying to go for a big ’80s bombastic & polished sound, and that’s for the best.
So, after being ready to NOT like this album, once get past the fact that this is Quiet Riot without Kevin DuBrow, the album is actually enjoyable. It’s not going to knock anyone’s socks off, but it’s a solid hard rock album with an old school feel. And while I have no doubt that Durbin’s run with the band will be just as short-lived as everyone else’s, Road Rage is still a decent effort for the band in the post-DuBrow era. Still, with a more appropriate singer, this album could’ve rated higher with me. QR fans aren’t going to love this album, but if they go in with an open mind, they might be okay with it.
Highlights: “Still Wild”, “Renegades”, “The Road”