RATED X - "Rated X" (Review)

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Produced By: 
Alessandro Del Vecchio
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Melodic Hard Rock
Friday, November 21, 2014
Any project featuring Joe Lynn Turner on vocals is going to get my attention. Add in Joe’s Mother’s Army partner Carmine Appice on drums; Carmine’s Blue Murder partner Tony Franklin on bass and star guitarist Karl Cochran and you have me standing to attention, ready to salute whoever’s idea this was.
But, what looks good on paper must deliver in reality. Rated X thankfully does just that. Under the direction of producer Alessandro Del Vecchio (who also adds writing credits, all keyboards, organ and backing vocals to his list of credits), the band delivers a knock out blues driven classic hard rock album.
Not unexpectedly, the style here is a mix of Joe Lynn Turner solo, classic Rainbow as well as adding parts of the Mother’s Army and Blue Murder sound.
The band overcame Karl’s recent health scare by bringing in Nikolo Koyzev and Daniel Palmqvist to complete guitar parts on several tracks, but Karl remains the driving force behind the album’s power.
It’s a joy to hear Appice and Franklin as a rhythm section again. The two really pack a punch on this record, with Tony’s bass groove rolling through the album and Carmine is simply all over these songs. Why add one drum fill when you can add three? I love it; the powerful rhythm section just adds so much power. And Joe Lynn Turner has seldom sounded better, his authorative rasp in full control.
Get Back My Crown is a ripping opener that throws me back to the debut Mother’s Army album.
This Is Who I Am is one of two tracks taken from the unreleased JLT/Chris Antblad collaboration. The song here is beefed up from its original form, with some shredding guitar and a ton of extra drum fills.
Fire And Ice is an organ drenched classic Zeppelinesque 70s rocker with drums again belting through the speakers through the chorus while Tony Franklin’s bass glides over the verse.
I Don’t Cry Anymore is another great JLT driven rocker, with the singer sounding in classic form.
The very cool and moody Lhasa has to be inspired by the Blue Murder track Valley Of The Kings. This seven minute epic has a very similar vibe, especially with Franklin and Appice involved.
Devil In Disguise is a pretty simple rocker after the complex preceding track.
You Are The Music is a quality slower track with a nice melodic edge.
Peace Of Mind is another quality untempo melodic rocker.
Maybe Tonight is a classic AOR track – the second from the JLT/Antblad sessions. Here it has been rocked up a little and expanded musically and is another highlight.
On The Way To Paradise picks up the tempo and the rock attitude once again for a straight ahead tour de force. Great guitar solo too!
Our Love Is Not Over is the big sentimental ballad of the album. Classic JLT here.
Stranger In Us All closes the album by firing us up again with crashing guitars and pounding bass and lots of organ once again.

A very fine debut collaboration from the folks that form Rated X. I hope this can continue as an ongoing touring and recording band.
The only point I would raise overall would be that the production could be described as a bit muddy in places and the drum and bass sound does vary a little from track to track.
But great energy in the performances, despite the challenges of getting the record recorded and mixed.
You wouldn’t want the album any longer than the 60 minutes delivered, but that said, there’s no filler here.