Californian rockers Babylon A.D. arrived too late to the party to have a big effect on the hair metal scene of the late eighties; indeed their most memorable ‘hit’, the excellent Bang Go the Bells, barely flickered across the consciousness of the aquanetted millions. Especially in my part of South Wales.
This is and was a shame, because in Derek Davis Babylon A.D. had a truly excellent singer/songwriter, one of the best to emerge from that scene, as was evinced by the man’s excellent soul/rock solo album that emerged earlier this year. Still, that’s by the bye, as B A.D. are back with their first album in nearly twenty years, and we really need to concentrate on that, right?
Right. If you enjoyed the comeback album from Vain that came out this year, you’ll love Revelation Highway, if only because on tracks like the utterly monstrous I’m No Good For You Babylon A.D. sound very much like Davy Vain and co. Which is a good thing.
But this similarity only occurs every now and then, and for the most part Babylon are very much their own men. Davis sings brilliantly throughout, and the muscular, heavy riffs of Ron Freschi and John Matthews are a delight on every song.
Standout track Saturday Night, and I’m being completely serious here, is quite literally one of the best hair metal resurrections I’ve heard in the last twenty years. Heavily redolent of the heaviness of early Great White, with a classy chorus and absolutely unforgettable stop-start riffage, I really haven’t been able to stop listening to this track since I got the album. Just ask my wife if you don’t believe me.
At the bottom of all this is the superior songwriting nouse of the band. They take liberally from the masters, sure – opening track Crash and Burn may not actually sound like UFO but it’s storytelling vocal takes it’s cues direct from Phil Mogg, one of the best at relating the heavy metal road tale, whilst Fool on Fire is similarly rabble rousing n’classy.
There’s only one weak spot, the slightly plodding She Likes To Give It, but I guarantee you’ll have forgotten all about that by the time the closing notes of superb closer Don’t Tell Me Tonight (White Sister meets Y&T? i’ll have some of that!) slide down your ear holes.
Thrilling, life affirming stuff from a band that deserved to be bigger first time round. Don’t let them slip through your fingers again!
Revelation Highway is out now on Frontiers Records