My trusted colleague and associate Gavin Strickmann has been beating the drum for the reformed Babylon A.D. for some while now, but, he’s not in charge of this Mag – I am – so I thought I’d take a turn at spruiking for their latest outing, which came out smack bang in the middle of our Metal May festivities and thus finds itself receiving a belated outing in the Sentinel Pages two weeks after release, a sorry state of affairs for which I can only apologise unreservedly.

Right, formalities over with – what about the new album from Derek Davis and company? Well, straight out of the box, opener Wrecking Machine – an old track that carries tales of the involvement of Y&T‘s late, lamented drummer Leonard Haze with it – screams “we’re back and burning’ and any doubts you may have had about the viability of B A.D. in the 2024 market place are dispelled right there and then. Coming in on the back of a quite superb opening riff, it sets the tone for the rest of an album via a classy lead vocal from Davis, who sounds just as good now as he did ‘back in the day’, and a committed performance from the rest of the band, none of whom bow to Davis in their ability to deliver the goods time and again.

Second track Pain, which sets itself up via a dramatic intro that’s equal parts Kiss (War Machine) and Metallica (Enter Sandman) is, to use an industry term, an absolute belter; Again Davis leads from the front, but Dylan Soto‘s lithe drumming, the strident, twanging basswork of Craig Pepe and the monstrous axes of John Matthews and Ron Freschi all play equal part in delivering one of the best no frills slabs of anthemic hard rock I’ve heard in quite some while.

Sometimes Love Is Hell showcases the band’s softer side, and is probably the album’s high water mark in terms of class; If this track had hit the airwaves in 1988 the game would have been up for a great deal of the opposition, and it’s a real pleasure to hear bands of this vintage still able to operate at such high levels in terms of originality and the sheer vitality they bring to the performance of new music.

The rest of the album doesn’t quite reach these heights but, slightly pointless space filling instrumental Super Beast apart, the quality here never drops appreciably. This is quality stuff, and even if you like melodic hard rock but didn’t count yourself a fan of the band first time around, this is a record you really need in your collection.