Rated X - self-titled
Released In North America on November 10th.
Joe Lynn Turner - vocals
Carmine Appice - drums
Tony Franklin - bass
Karl Cochran - guitars except as below
Alessandro del Vecchio - keyboardist/producer
Nikolo Kotzev (Brazen Abbot) guitars on "Maybe Tonight", "Peace Of Mind"
," Our Love Is Not Over" and lead guitars on "Stranger In Us All" and "I Don't Cry No More"
Daniel Palmqvist guitars on "You Are The Music"
1.) "Get Back My Crown" - This intro opens with a snare drum fill. Even if you did not have the linear notes you can tell who the drummer is, especially if you are a drummer yourself. Over the top of the snare fill Karl plays a rhythm guitar riff. The main body of the intro consisted of a standard intro arrangement. After four measures Karl plays a very cool little rhythm guitar riff. Normally this little riff would signify connecting the musical intro with the musical verse. This is however, Tony Franklin and Carmine Appice. Therefore, there is a second shorter intro arrangement before the musical verse. The little riff that connected the two intro sections is also the riff that connected the second intro with the musical verse. There was a rhythm arrangement change for the musical verse. Karl plays what I believe is a half-note underneath the lyric lines. This lets the bass and drum line become the main instrumentation underneath Joe's lead vocal lines. Joe double-tracked the first and third lyric lines of the pre-chorus. There was a snare drum fill connecting the pre-chorus with the musical chorus. The vocal lines of the choruses had a huge Joe Lynn hook attached to them. The way the second verse was produced consisted of Tony's bass line being turned up. There was a cool little musical change connecting the third and fourth lyric lines. After the second chorus over the top of the first couple of notes of the lead guitar, solo Joe sings a couple of vocal accents. The solo section consisted of a guitar/keyboard/guitar solo. The second solo was the major solo of the song. There was several leaf guitar licks over the top of the coda.
2.) "This Is Who I Am" - This intro opens with a cymbal choke along with a bass and guitar note. The intro opens with Karl playing a rhythm guitar riff. Underneath the repeated third riff Carmine plays a snare crack and hits his hi-hat. It is at this point Tony kicks-in the bass line playing the same riff s the one Karl is playing on guitar. Over the top of the next riff Karl overdubbed a minor lead guitar solo. There were several lead guitar notes of this minor lead guitar solo that really shows Karl's dexterity. The minor solo connects the intro with the musical verse. It sounded as if instead of changing the musical verse Jay just slowed the rhythm guitar down just a little. After the fifth lyric line Carmine plays a snare fill. The chorus has a classic Joe Lynn hook attached to it. Once you hear the hook it becomes very obvious why this was chose as the first single, There was a small echo attached to the second lyric line of the chorus. It sounded like Joe overdubbed the backing vocal lines if the chorus. I am sure e is not the only one singing however, his vocals bleed though more than the rest. Connecting the first chorus with the second verse there was a minor lead guitar solo. Over the top of the solo Joe sings a few lead vocal accents. Carmine plays a short tom-tom fill to connect the minor solo with the second verse. The hi-hat pattern Carmine played for the second verse blew me away. (Stuff like this is the reason why I learned to play drums by using his book 'Realistic Rock'!). After the second chorus there was a breakdown section. The fourth lyric line of the breakdown section consisted of a backing harmony. The breakdown section lead to a major lead huitar solo section. This solo section though musically was suppose ro be a major lead guitar solo, it was more of a minor solo. Underneath the chorus of the coda Karl plays a lead guitar solo underneath Joe's lyric lines.
3.) "Fire and Ice" - After a couple of measures of Tony playing a bass line using his fretless bass, along with Carmine playing accented cymbal crashes using not only his standard cymbals however, also a china boy. As the intro progressed producer Alessandro begin playing a very simple keyboard arrangement. The keyboard was used mainly just as a fill-in instrument. If you subtract the keyboard and add a simple John Sykes guitar riff and you could swear this was a Blue Murder track. Which, by the way I loved. I don't wanna stray from Rated X however, let me just say that Blue Murder's first release was one of my most underrated releases of my generation! After the fill-in keyboard arrangement Karl kicks-in the rhythm guitar riffs. Underneath the measure that connects the intro with the musical verse Carmine plays several snare cracks underneath Karl's rhythm guitar riffs. Over the top of the snare cracks Tony slides his left hand down his bass neck. Carmine plays a snare/tom-tom fill to open the first lyric line. Karls switched to an electric picking pattern for the guitar arrangement of the musical verse. Joe's vocals for this track are amazing!!!! There were several cymbal There were a couple of triplet notes connecting the musical verse with the musical chorus. Carmine plays a tom-tom fill in between the first and second then the third and fourth lyric lines of the chorus. Underneath the music lines of the chorus Carmine plays a signature drum rhythm. The bass line for the musical verses was amazing! Connecting the second and third choruses Karl plays a lead guitar solo. After the third chorus Karl plays a minor lead guitar solo that runs through the coda. Over the top of the coda Joe sings the title of the song three times along with four vocal accents that are in between him singing the title.
4.) "I Don't Cry No More" - Nikolo Kotzev plays lead guitar on this track. The intro to this track opens with a Carmine Appice snare drum fill. For the main body of the intro Carmine plays a standard double-bass shuffle pattern. As a drummer myself I have always felt Carmine's double bass shuffle patterns are one of the best. Over the top of the bass and drum line there was a keyboard arrangement. As a former musician the type of rhythm guitar arrangement Karl wrote for this track is the type that you can really lock into. In addition, me this intro reminded me of seventies Deep Purple or Rainbow. For the musical verse Karl plays half-notes letting the bass and drum line become the main instrumentation of the verse. There is a rhythm guitar change for the musical chorus. Also during the musical chorus the producer Alessandro brings back his keyboard arrangement. Tony's bass line for this track is amazing!! There was a snare/tom-tom fill connecting the second verse with the second chorus. After the second chorus there was a keyboard/guitar solo. The solo runs underneath the third chorus.
5.) "Lhasa" - [lah-suh, -sah, las-uh]( a city in and the capital of Tibet, in the SE part: sacred city of Lamaism. About 12,000 feet (3650 meters) above sea level.) The pre-intro to this track opens with the sound of wind chimes. As the pre-intro progresses there is a special effects of wind blowing along with a keyboard effect. The intro kicks-in with Karl playing a rhythm guitar arrangement. To connect the musical intro with the musical verse Karl plays four rhythm guitar riffs that are very reminiscent to the rhythm guitar riffs Jimmy Page played on Led Zeppelin's 'Kashmir'. After this four riffs the musical verse kicks-in. The musical verse consisted of mainly the bass and drum line. However, the vocal lines of the verse are good. Joe just can't do an Arabic feel like the song really needed. The rhythm guitar really does not kick-in until the musical chorus. After the second chorus there was a breakdown section that consisted of a very cool bass line over the top of several cymbal notes. As the breakdown progressed Carmine added several snare and tom-tom fills. The breakdown section lead to a short however, amazing lead guitar solo. All in all this song really did not fit in with the rest of the songs on the release. The highlight of this track was the breakdown and lead guitar solo.
6.) "Devil in Disguise" - This intro opens with a Carmine Appice snare/tom-tom fill. The musical intro had a solid groove to it. After I believe four measures Carmine plays a snare fill. After this snare fill Joe sings a vocal accent that leads to a minor lead guitar solo. The minor lead guitar solo leads to the musical verse. There was a rhythm arrangement change for the musical verse. The rhythm guitar riffs leading into the musical chorus was amazing!!! Underneath the rhythm guitar leading into the second chorus Carmine plays several drum fills. After the second chorus there was an amazing yet short lead guitar solo. After the guitar solo there was a musical arrangement that consist of a keyboard arrangement.
7.) "You Are the Music" - Daniel Palmqvist plays guitar on this track. This intro opens with one of the coolest acoustic guitar arrangements I believe I have ever heard. Just hearing this intro if it is Daniel playing it. I wanna know where the hell he has been all these years! Underneath the acoustic guitar there was a keyboard arrangement. The main intro consisted of a twin minor lead guitar solo over the top of Carmine playing a snare drum pattern along with a few cymbal crashes. The way the band arranged the musical verse a loud Tony's bass to be the main instrumentation. In between the vocal lines and bass lines Daniel plays very simple fill-in chords. The vocals are very reminiscent to Joe Lynn Turner's solo material. The backing vocals of the chorus consisted of a choir. The chorus had a huge hook attached to it. Connecting the first chorus with the second verse there was the same minor solo as the one that was over the top of the intro. In between the first and second lead vocal lines of the second verse there was a female backing harmony. The fifth lead vocal line consisted of a backing vocal underneath it. Throughout the second verse there were scattered lead guitar licks. After the second chorus there was a major twin lead guitar solo. After the third chorus there was a second minor lead guitar solo section. Theses solos were simple yet very effective for this song. The coda consisted of several lead guitar licks.
8.) "Peace of Mind" - Nikolo Kotzev of Brazen Abbot plays guitars on this track. This track opens with a strange effect that leads to a bass line. The intro to this track had a very simple feel to it. Over the top of the intro Joe Lynn sings a vocal accent that consisted of a vocal echo. There was a very simple musical change for the musical verse. The fifth and sixth lyric lines consisted of half of the lyric line containing a backing vocal. While the seventh, eighth and ninth contained backing vocals for the entire lyric lines. The chorus had a Joe Lynn hook attached to it. After the second chorus the band breaks the song down with a keyboard solo. The keyboard solo lead to a bass line solo. The only thing this song was missing was a Nikolo guitar solo.
9.) "Maybe Tonight" - Nikolo Kotzev of Brazen Abbot plays lead guitar on this track. Before going into the main intro section this track consisted of several types of Carmine Appice drum fills underneath a guitar riff then a few keyboard notes, the a guitar riff then keyboard notes etc... Underneath the keyboard notes Nikolo carries through his riff. The main intro section consisted of a fairly basic musical intro. There was a rhythm guitar change for the musical verse. For the rhythm guitar arrangement of the musical verse you can definitely tell there was a different guitarist playing on this song. For the musical chorus there not only was a rhythm guitar change however, the band added a keyboard arrangement to give the chorus a more full sound. Joe's vocals on the chorus sounded amazing!!! Carmine plays a drum fill connecting the third and fourth lyric lines together. Though you can barely hear it Tony's bass line is amazing on this track. After the second chorus there was a breakdown section. This breakdown section consisted of a vocal line over the top of it. After the third chorus Nikolo plays a lead guitar solo. His lead guitar solo runs underneath the fourth chorus. The band drastically slowed the song down for the coda.
10.) "On the Way to Paradise" - This intro opens with a rhythm guitar arrangement. There are three cymbal crashes underneath the rhythm guitar before the actual drum and bass line of the intro kick-in. There are three quarter-notes played by Carmine and Tony to kick the full drum and bass line of the intro in. After the second cymbal crash Alessandro begins playig a keyboard arrangement. This keyboard arrangement along with the way the rhythm guitar sounded gave the intro a very seventies Rainbow with Joe Lynn Turner feel to it. There was a short minor lead guitar solo over the top of the intro section connecting the intro with the musical verse. There was a very simple rhythm guitar change for the musical verse. There were a couple lead guitar licks connecting the third and fourth lyric lines of the musical verse. The chorus had a huge Joe Lynn Turner hook attached to it. There was a Carmine Appice tom-tom fill connecting the first chorus with the second verse. The second and third choruses were back to back. The third chorus turned into a breakdown section. This breakdown section lead to a keyboard/lead guitar solo. The way Karl wrote the solo made it sound as if there were two different lead guitarists. The lead guitar solo ran underneath the fourth and final chorus of the coda.
11.) "Our Love Is Not Over" - Nikola Kotzev of Brazen Abbot plays guitars on this track. Nikola plays a heavily influenced plays blues arrangement over the top of this short intro arrangement. Underneath his blues arrangement Carmine plays several cymbal crashes and Tony plays accented bass-notes. Carmine plays a very slow tom-tom fill to connect the short intro with the musical verse. There was an arrangement change for the musical verse. For the pre-chorus Nikola switched to a distorted rhythm guitar arrangement. The pre-chorus had a small hook attached to it. The chorus itself has a seventies rock feel to it. The bass line of the chorus was amazing! For the most part Carmine used his china boy cymbal instead of his crash cymbal this added a strange effect to the drum line for this type of song. after the second chorus Nikola played one hell of a lead guitar solo. There was a blistering Tony bass line underneath the lead guitar solo section. Over the top of the coda there was a second lead guitar solo. It sounded like this was the same lead guitar solo as the major lead guitar solo.
12.) "Stranger in Us All" - Nikolo Kotzev (Brazen Abbot) plays lead guitar on this song. This track opens with several quarter-notes. Scattered in between the quarter-notes were Carmine Appice drum fills. The main intro section consisted of about two measures. It was just a little more intense than I was expecting. There was a rhythm arrangement change for the musical verse. As the verse progressed the band speeded the song up. There was an arrangement change for the musical chorus. There was a fill-in keyboard arrangement for the musical chorus. After the second chorus there was a breakdown section. After the chorus there was a breakdown section that lead to the keyboard being the main instrumentation. After the first breakdown section there was a second smaller breakdown section. Nikolo's lead guitar solo was over the top of the coda.
Super-groups these days come a dime a dozen however, back in 1988 there was just one, Blue Murder featuring John Sykes (Whitesnake), Tony Franklin (The Firm & The Jimmy Page Band) and Carmine Appice (Vanilla Fudge, Beck Bogert & Appice, The Rod Stewart Band, Ozzy Osbourne...just to name a few). Turn the clocks forward twenty-six years and Tony Franklin and Carmine Appice has done it again this time with the help of Frontiers Records president Serafino Perugino creating Rated X which, also features legendary vocalist Joe Lynn Turner (solo artist, Rainbow, Yngwie Malmsteen...just to name a few) along with Karl Cochran (Joe Lynn Turner, Nuclear Assault).
Carmine's drum rhythm's and fills as always are amazing. Tony is a master of the fretless bass and this release has some of the best bass lines I believe I have ever heard. Karl's rhythm guitar work has turned me into a huge Cochran fan. In addition, Joe Lynn Turner, well he is Joe Lynn Turner after all, the vocalist that can sing anything! Rounding out and helping the band in the studio is Alessandro del Vecchio who plays keyboards and also produced the release, Nikolo Kotzev of Brazen Abbot and guitarist Daniel Palmqvist (for the songs Nikolo and Daniel play on reference above).
I mentioned timeless earlier. What I mean is when you put this CD in it sounds like the songs were written by such great timeless artists such as Deep Purple and Rainbow. Songs that will stand the test of time! Songs rock fans will be talking about long after we are long dead and gone! If you are a fan of great solid melodic hard rock of such as Deep purple, Rainbow or just fans of any of the members that are a part of this band than Rated X is an absolute must have for your CD collection!!!!