In the canon of Ozzy Osbourne guitarists, Jake E. Lee is severely underrated. While he didn’t have the tragedy of Randy Rhoads’ potential cut short or the longevity of Zakk Wylde, his performances on Bark at the Moon and The Ultimate Sin were exactly what Ozzy needed at the time. It’s not certain why he was fired from the band in 1987, but his post-Ozzy band, Badlands was an amazing bluesy hard rock band cut short by the death of singer Ray Gillen. He more or less disappeared for the last 20 years, popping up here and there. Now he’s back with Red Dragon Cartel, and the results should excite anyone that’s a fan of Bark at the Moon. In fact, the first single, “Deceived,” sounds not only like the album, but its title track as well. Given that Lee wrote “Bark,” it’s not that much of a departure, but that’s not a bad thing at all. Former Warmachine vocalist Darren Smith does a serviceable job, but above all, it’s great to have Lee back.
Red Dragon Cartel will be released on January 28 on Frontiers (not Frontier) Records.