Blood Red Saints – Speedway
Frontiers Music Srl (Dec 2015)
Reviewer: Peter Scallan
Speedway is the debut album from Blood Red Saints and at first sight I thought this was going to be another Frontiers ‘project’ band. However, while these guys have a huge amount of experience, Pete Godfrey (In Faith) states his motivation was to be involved in a real band and not a project – in fact the guys are already lining up gigs including next year’s HRH. The band features Rob Naylor on bass and extreme facial hair (formerly of AOK), Lee Revill on guitar (Gary Hughes) and last and by no means least Pete Newdeck on drums (In Faith, Eden’s Curse and currently the vocalist for Tainted Nation).
With two ex-In Faith members I was wondering if the album would be in a similar vein to that, which I thought had some great highs but as many lows. However, from the opening of ‘Kickin Up Dust’ this notion is firmly dispelled! It is a classic and classy opener which showcases the groove of Godfrey’s voice with some great melodies which remind me of classic Loverboy with a transatlantic twist.
This is quickly followed by ‘Mercy’ which reminds me a little of the melodic side of Eden’s Curse with its thunderous opening before dropping down into a half-time verse and picking up again heading towards the powerful and catchy verse.
A mid-paced rocker is next which could sit comfortably on a classic Foreigner album called ‘Best of Me’. Having said that the chorus is a little reminiscent of prime time Loverboy again, which is no bad combination!
‘Dangerous’ opens with acoustic guitar picking and atmospheric keys with Pete Godfrey crooning over the top before turning into a stomping rocker in the vein of FM.
A ballad is next up called ‘Love Set Me Up Again’ and this builds nicely and highlights the fact that Godfrey can croon with the best of them.
‘Better Days’ opens with a real 80s keyboard intro before kicking off into a pacey rocker. It has all the hallmarks of classic 80s AOR track.
The Best Thing opens with piano and vocals and then bursts into a great chorus carried with some great backing vocal melodies. The chugging second verse changes the dynamics of the song a little and almost sounds a little Magnum-ish. The contrasting rhythms work well together in this song giving it great light and shade.
Godfrey also opens the next song with an acoustic backing for Unbreakable which also reminds me a little of Loverboy and has bluesy feel to it.
This is contrasted by the poppy ‘Wrapped In These Arms’ which has hit single potential written all over it with the right exposure. With some of the backing vocals being almost gospel-like and the variety of feels, it moves along nicely and is finished before you know it.
Next up is a short musical interlude highlighting Revill’s ability and leads into Feels a Lot Like Love. This kicks off with some nice guitar playing too before breaking down into a half-time verse with clean guitar and building through the bridge into the chorus which again brings images of Loverboy to mind.
And already we are onto the last number which is another ballad called ‘Faith’ which revolves around Godfrey’s voice and a simple piano part and a most excellent chorus. The song builds through the introduction of more keys and a key change and is a fitting way to close the album.
While this album evokes thoughts of many bands such as Loverboy, Foreigner and FM, it still manages to carve out a sound of its own and doesn’t become a parody or rip-off of any particular band on any particular song. In the main, for me this is down to Pete Godfrey’s voice which I love. You can’t ask for much more really – great vocals, great songs and great production from a British AOR band! What you waiting for then? Get out and buy this mother and fly the flag!