Blood Red Saints - Speedway // 8/10

The melodic rock / AOR genre has never been so healthy as it is right now and with the resurgence over the last ten years, a lot of the credit has to be attributed to Frontiers record label, daring to release output by bands that the majors wouldn't touch with a bargepole and being justified in their releases. Blood Red Saints continue that success and have truly released a corker of a debut.

Having only heard about this band over the last two months through snippets in online magazines and websites, once looking at the line-up of the band and hearing a teaser track, I was eagerly awaiting this release.

“Kickin’ Up Dust” kicks off the album in true classic fashion with multi-layered backing vocals a la Leppard/Winger, and a Lee Revill (guitar) riff reminiscent of Satriani’s “Surfing with the Alien” giving a frenzied start to the album.

Second track “Mercy” picks up where “Kickin’ Up Dust” finished with Pete Godfrey’s vocals showing how much of a voice he possesses, with Lee Revill blistering on the solo.

After such a hectic start it seems it is time to slow things down slightly with, possibly, my favourite song on the album in “Best of Me”, a mid-tempo song with all the ingredients of the perfect AOR masterpiece - this song should be talked about in time as a classic.

While Blood Red Saints are not breaking new ground in this genre, and I suppose it isn't easy to come up with something different in this day and age, “Speedway” sounds refreshing, and if you pick the best bits of the bands Drive She Said, Winger, and Nelson and introduce your own sound to the mix then you have Blood Red Saints.

For the lovers of the rock ballad or the lighter waver then the album has three tracks in that mould, “Love Set Me Up Again” and “Faith” but the stand out ballad is “The Best Thing”, which will just evoke golden memories of the 80s and being with your first love.

My only criticism is the pace of the second half of the album which could have done with putting “Mercy” at around the tenth song to add a bit of pace to the running order and possibly dropping “CGRNR”, which is just a minute of the acoustic guitar being played and lets the release down. However, this is only a small gripe.

The band, apart from Pete Godfrey and Lee Revill is filled by Rob Naylor on bass and, possibly one of the busiest guys in rock music, Pete Newdeck on drums/mixer and producer.

As mentioned earlier Blood Red Saints are not redefining the genre and probably didn't set out to. However, with 11 of the tracks out of the 12 on this release being pure melodic gold for me, personally, none would be out of place in a brat pack movie. I think Blood Red Saints have a chance of being in the top 3 albums of the year…

Reviewer: Darren Griffiths