BADLANDS – Badlands +1 [Rock Candy Remastered] Out Of Print
This great album was requested again: BADLANDS first, self-titled album “Badlands” remastered by Rock Candy Records with a bonus track, now with a complete 16 full color booklet including rare photos and a 4000+ full essay about the making of the record.
The Rock Candy reissue appeared some years ago alongside Badlands’ second record, and it was about time for these killer albums to receive a remaster and become available again as the original CD pressings were long time out of print being sold on eBay for a jillion dollars…
But guess what… both Badlands Rock Candy remasters were on sale only few months due to Ray Gillen’s estate / family claim.
So this “Badlands Rock Candy Remaster” reissue was retired from the market and it’s Out Of Print again.
Badlands self-titled debut release is a collection of terrific blues flavored hard rock songs that is raw and laden with emotion. The late (RIP) Ray Gillen voice is perfectly suited to the genre displaying a wide tonal range in a variety of styles, from all out rockers to slow bluesy ballads. His ability to infuse genuine feeling into the music is one of the keys to its appeal.
Beside Gillen’s vocal talents, Badlands also features the considerable skills of guitarist Jake E. Lee, the man who came to replace Randy Rhoads in Ozzy Osbourne’s band. Badlands was founded by Lee looking for a more organic, classic hard rock band sound.
The frenetic energy that powered Ozzy’s material are channeled in Badlands into a completely different direction. The results, while perhaps not as manic, are still very powerful in a different way.
Instead of starting at full throttle, more often the energy and tension are allowed to build, before being released. Lee’s tone, style and phrasing, bear little similarity to his playing with Ozzy, but his desire to play this type of music was the reason he left Osbourne’s band. With a cleaner guitar tone, Lee’s fluid playing style can more easily be heard, and appreciated.
Rounding out the band is a monster rhythm section. The excellent Eric Singer energetically handles the drumming duties, and Greg Chaisson provide the deep bass foundation.
Put simply, “Badlands” rocks hard with tons of feeling.
All tracks are pure gold, such as the beast “Streets Cry Freedom”, a great showcase for Gillen’s haunting vocal. As the song builds, Lee’s guitar takes flight, including a spacey side guitar solo.
“High Wire” finds Badlands’ brand of blues, closest to the traditional hard rock format but with a late ’80s sound, while “Rumblin’ Train” will have you stomping your feet as it chugs along, with Gillen and Lee stoking the engine to the end of the line.
“Dancing on the Edge” opens with a muted scratching riff that progresses into one of the album’s faster numbers. Lee’s solo is vibrant, full of twists and turns, with a flurry of pulloffs, reminiscent of this playing with Ozzy.
With a song structure that is all over the map, the non-traditional blues of “Devil’s Stomp” is perhaps the collection’s most musically intriguing tune.
Always a favorite of mine “Seasons” is the best of the slow numbers, a beautiful song that features one of Ray Gillen’s finest vocals. The mood is reminiscent of Zeppelin, with an American flavor.
On the more commercial side, the bouncy and pretty catchy numbers “Winter Calls” and “Dreams in the Dark” were the two singles taken from the album.
But despite both gained valuable MTV exposure, Badlands’ brand of gut level classic hard rock didn’t quite fit into the glam / hair metal scene of the time, then did not find much of an audience.
Reading through the excellent liner notes from the booklet of this Rock Candy reissue, it’s amazing that the album was ever made in the first place.
Label executives imagined a far different band than that which they signed, and kept trying to force them into the mold of washed-up hair-metal hacks rather than the young soul rebels they obviously were.
Producer Paul O’Neill as well caused a split between the band’s leads (Gillen and Lee) and the rhythm section, and at one point some damn fool suit wanted to toss Lee from the band that he started up in the first place.
However, through all the madness and the tension, Badlands created a classic album here, and the band stands today as a pinnacle of the traditional hard rock heights. Tossing aside the hedonism of other Hollywood street rats, and refusing to be bound by trends and expectations Badlands aspired to more, and for a brief shining moment at the end of the ’80s, they achieved a rock ‘n’ roll genius status.
Badlands recorded a great second album titled Voodoo Highway (also remastered by Rock Candy and to be featured here soon), but the untimely death of Ray Gillen put an end to the band.
As said, this “Badlands’ Rock Candy remastered reissue was retired from the market, hence has become a collector’s item.
And it’s a terrific piece of classic hard rock that you need without hesitation.
A MUST HAVE
01 – High Wire
02 – Dreams In The Dark
03 – Jade’s Song
04 – Winter’s Call
05 – Dancing On The Edge
06 – Streets Cry Freedom
07 – Hard Driver
08 – Rumblin’ Train
09 – Devil’s Stomp
10 – Seasons
11 – Ball & Chain
Ray Gillen – lead vocals, harmonica
Jake E. Lee – guitar, keyboards
Greg Chaisson – bass
Eric Singer – drums
Deleted / Not Available