To celebrate their 30th anniversary, BABYLON A.D. have released a new album, Revelation Highway, out now on Frontiers Music. They are also one of a shrinking number of bands that still have all original members. Surprisingly, this is only their fourth studio album. While it was a long wait, it seems to have been absolutely worth it. The disc kicks off with the bold, in your face “Crash and Burn.” When it comes to albums that don’t have a title track, it thrills me even more when they simply mention the title of their album in a song. It’s somehow exciting. This track features high energy and crunchy distorted guitars played by Ron Freschi and John Mathews. Following this is a more bluesy intense number, “Fools on Fire.”
Toning it down a notch is “One Million Miles.” Derek Davis’ vocals become smoother as he professes his adoration for a lady. The guitar tone becomes much more fluid and cascading going along well with the vocal change. “Tears” begins mellow instrumentally with an ache in Derek’s voice. As soon as the first verse ends the tempo picks up and continues on with vigor. The guitar solo takes on so many different styles as it goes on, from beginning light and higher pitched and becoming bolder.
Bringing the distortion and grit back is “She Likes to Give It.” With each end of the phrase, Derek adds a strained flourish to his voice. From the single whistle at the outset and the entire package of the song, it rings true to their classic late 80’s sound. Continuing this nostalgic tone, the drums, played by James Pacheco, and bass, played by Robb Reid, start off “Rags to Riches.” The searing guitar joins in and simply takes off.
What would easily be considered the big power ballad of the album is “Last Time For Love,” and honestly would be a huge hit back in the day. The sexy guitar riff combined with the background vocalizations is enough to draw me in on top of Derek’s strained, compelling voice. It almost feels like this song came from the late 80’s. The vitality is once again back for the final stretch with “No Good For You” and “Saturday Night.” The latter is yet another that brings you back to the decade of decadence, a time when everything was more fun and enjoyable. This would be a tune you would blast from the car stereo with the top down.
“Don’t Tell Me Tonight” launches forward with the heaviest riffs on the record. The melodic tone of this number exquisitely finishes their first studio recording in 17 years. Throughout this whole thing one of the biggest themes I caught was the fact that it sounded like it came directly from 1989, which is not at all a bad thing, in fact it is the exact opposite. While I do like and admire bands that incorporate modern sounds into their music, I have a soft spot for bands that can somehow shun any modern influence and keep to their original sound.
That’s why we all fell in love with them in the first place isn’t it? BABYLON A.D. put out an awesome album in Revelation Highway, sure to please fans of their original sound, and it makes me excited to know these guys are back and hopefully not leaving again anytime soon.
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Tears”, “Last Time For Love”, “Saturday Night”