Everything old is new again. 2016 brings us a new album from guitarist Dario Mollo’s CROSSBONES, featuring the original drummer Ezio Secomandi, and Mollo’s regular collaborator Dario Patti on bass and keyboards. On vocals we have Carl Sentance, someone I’ve never heard before, and that’s a damn shame because this fucking guy can sing his ass off! Truth be told I never heard anything from CROSSBONES back in the day, but this new record Rock the Cradle (out now, Frontiers Music) showed up yesterday so I figured, “Why not?” And sometimes there’s nothing better than going into an album with zero expectations or preconceived notions because it makes it all the better when said album winds up rocking your face off, like this one did.
The songs are a blend of hard rock and classic metal of the 80’s, but with a modern feel to them. Still, there’s simply no denying the throwback vibe on this record, something I took much delight in upon my first listen and I’m still digging that vibe now. Songs like “Speed” and “Running From the Shadow” remind me of that glorious time when I was 15 years old without a care in the world, Mollo’s guitar taking me by the hand and leading me down Memory lane, one of my favorite places in the world. On “Shadow” his solo is off the charts, and the overall tone is electrifying.
Opener “Red” has this seriously sick guitar lick to get things going, and when the band kicks in behind it, you just KNOW you’re in for a good one. Then Sentance opens his mouth and just solidifies it, especially when he lets it rip on that chorus, THAT CHORUS!! Damn, that’s a good one! “Take Me High” kicks it up a notch speed-wise, with rapid-fire riffs, a tempo that won’t quit, a big-assed hook, and another incendiary guitar solo. Then comes “Navigation” one of my favorites from jump. It’s a bit on the moody side, and the groove is downright evil. The rhythm section is real thick here, Patti and Secomandi firmly at the controls of the ship.
The title track is a bit different, but still fits alongside the others. “Gates of Time” opens with this soul-stirring guitar solo, and the melody throughout is rather haunting. Thick and rich riffage ushers in “I Got This Feeling” while “In My Blood” takes the classic sound of yore and just runs with it, Sentance utilizing his wide vocal range nicely. Closer “Fright” employs a more concentrated, deliberate tempo and is a good way to wrap things up. Overall this is a great record that has quite a few 80’s-influenced gems on it. I guarantee that fans of heavy rock and metal, whether they’re older or younger, will find some tunes worth blasting on Rock the Cradle. And I hope Dario Mollo’s CROSSBONES puts out albums like this for many years to come.
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Red”, “Take Me High”, “Navigation”, “Running From the Shadow”, “Gates of Time”