CD review RED DRAGON CARTEL ‘Patina’

(7/10) If you look up ‘patina’ in Wikipedia you get the following description:
Patina (/ˈpætɪnə/ or /pəˈtiːnə/) is a thin layer that variously forms on the surface of copperbronze and similar metals (tarnish produced by oxidation or other chemical processes), or certain stones[1] and wooden furniture (sheen produced by age, wear, and polishing), or any similar acquired change of a surface through age and exposure.”

What’s not mentioned ‘yet’ is that ‘Patina’ is also the title of the new Red Dragon Cartel album. The band is driven by former Ozzy Osbourne guitarist Jake E. Lee who teamed-up with Darren James Smith (v), Anthony Esposito (b) and Phil Varone (d), which means that the entire rhythm-section changed since the band released the debut in 2014.

Red Dragon Cartel in 2018 seems to evolve more and more to a band. Several guest singers had an appearance on the debut while this time all vocals are done by Harem Scarem frontman DJ Smith. 

The second strike of the Red Dragon Cartel contains ofwell-crafted and professional hardrock songs that are more linked to Badlands than to Lee’s days with Ozzy Osbourne. Tracks like ‘Crooked Man’ have a bluesier vibe and in general it’s hardrock and blues being the base for each of the 10 tracks.

With all the professionalism and experience that unites on ‘Patina’ it also feels like musical vitality gets covered a bit by ‘patina’. None of the songs on the album is a real downer, but it’s the freshness that’s missing. It feels like the quartet is carrying some weight with them and it’s the ease that got lost. Therefore ‘Patina’ is a good hardrock album and also has some room for improvement. Wipe the patina away and let the guitar power shine brightly.



  1. Speedbag
  2. Havana
  3. Crooked Man
  4. The Luxury Of Breathing
  5. Bitter
  6. Chasing Ghosts
  7. A Painted Heart
  8. Punchclown (Bonus Track)
  9. My Beautiful Mess
  10. Ink & Water

Label: Frontiers Music

Genre: Hardrock

Release Date EU: November 9th, 2018

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