||FOUR BY FATE
(Amazing Record Co)
Release Date: 3rd June 2016
With the potential of a supergroup in the making, Four By Fate feature four renowned musicians who have played with some of the biggest names in rock, to the point of being the lesser known backbone of classic rock and metal. And this new album is classic metal at its finest.
The band's roots go back to the mid 80s with bassist John Regan and singer/guitarist/keyboardist Tod Howarth playing together with former Kiss guitarist Ace Frehley's band (both solo and Frehley's Comet). Regan had previously worked with Peter Frampton (notably on the excellent 'Breaking All The Rules' album; if you've ever heard this album you'll know just how credible this work is), and Howarth with Ted Nugent and Cheap Trick. Solo projects aside, Regan had also worked with the Rolling Stones, Davie Bowie, Dave Edmunds, Michael Monroe, Dave Lee Roth and Billy Idol, as well as continuing to work with Frampton, while Howarth worked with 707 and Loudness.
Add to the mix Rob Affuso, former drummer with Skid Row, and on solo releases by G'n'R's Gilby Clarke and Duff McKagan, with the line-up completed by noted New York guitarist Patrick James Gasperini.
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Which brings us to 2015 and Regan and Howarth working together again. The band originally featured ex Wasp drummer Stet Howland and Helix guitarist Sean Kelly. Howland was originally replaced by Twisted Sister's AJ Pero, whose work appears on six tracks. He died in March 2015 and this album is thought to be his last known recording.
Opener 'These Times Are Hard For Lovers' is a brutal and solid number, bright and heavy in equal measure, it's quite in-your-face. There's a few bars of moody sleaze that kick off 'Moonshine', before everything is cranked up to 11. The guitar work stands out as it is intricate. The feel is bluesy metal, slightly sleazy. The music nods towards Dio and Ace Frehley, as it does in 'Hangin' On'. A slightly chunkier number, the vocals remain mid range and while the slower section near the end has a good sound, it's slightly disjointed.
'Levee Breaks' keeps up the pace and highlights the mid to late 80s metal influence, albeit in a much more cranked up form while 'It's Over Now', with its piano work, is a powerful metal ballad, the rhythm section standing proud. There's also some quite amazing guitar work as the song builds.
'Follow Me' is equally solid, less sleazy, a touch of Skid Row here, and the guitar and bass work all shred with aplomb and 'On My Own' features both guitar and bass riffs that are memorable, as well as some screaming guitar work.
The feel across the album is excellent, albeit a little samey, and much much heavier than the pedigree would otherwise lead you. From moody straight metal to classic and sleaze, and acoustic and ballad moments. Then there's the roaring 'Rock And Roll Hoochie Coo' to close the album, leaving you on a high note.
Judging by the online clips, the music is as energetic as the stage show. Definitely a band to look out for.