One of metal’s most prolific songwriters of the last few years has returned with a new album from his main project, Rocka Rollas. Despite losing American singer Joe Liszt, this band is not slowing down, as mainman Ced is taking over on vocals. While Liszt is definitely the best singer the band has ever had, Ced takes a different approach. In fact, “The Road To Destruction” as a whole is much more similar to the first Rocka Rollas album than the second. Everything about this record is completely off the hook; the songs are fast and furious, the soloing is wild, and the vocals are raw and unrestrained. Ced is by no means a trained singer, but he can hit absurdly high notes, and his voice compliments the energy of the band well.
The songs on “The Road To Destruction” are predicated around bombastic sing-along choruses. Rocka Rollas sends all guns blazing in terms sheer speed, and Ced’s crazy shrieks over top of these breakneck tempos really make for a fun record. He’s really evolving as a songwriter too. The chorus of “Curse of Blood” shows a little bit of vocal layering, which adds another complexity to an already difficult to play track. These melodies are incredibly potent; “Curse of Blood”, alongside many other tracks will no doubt stay with you when the album finishes. Once again, the cover art really embodies this sound, as every track sounds like you are riding a steed off into battle. Even though most of the album is a high-speed affair, “Firefall” gives a nice change of pace. This is a foot-stomping, fist-pumping anthem taken straight from the 80’s (then again, everything on this album would be right at home in the late 80’s). This is a song where having Liszt’s more technical and refined approach to singing would have been helpful, but Ced certainly does an admirable job on the track.
In terms of the songwriting, “The Road To Destruction” takes a bit of a different approach from “Metal Strikes Back”. While there certainly is a plethora of riffs here, this album feels like it is based more around lead playing. The title track, as one example, revolves around some killer melodic leads. This song also shows a common theme from Blazon Stone’s debut album (another project by Ced). The choruses tend to be a mouthful; this is by no means problematic, but it is a far cry from the simple choruses like “Night of the Living Steel” and “Metalive” on Rocka Rollas’ previous album. The album really gets going again near the end with the final three tracks. Much like the first set of three, each song has an undeniably brilliant chorus. “Kingdom of Madness” is actually a Magnum cover, but it fits in perfectly with everything else on the record.
Overall, “The Road To Destruction” is another major winner for Rocka Rollas. The band has managed to reinvigorate their sound by going back to the basics. Though not fundamentally different from the prior album, the best way to describe this record is that it’s similar to the first album but with better production, better songs, and a much better performance overall. Even though Ced seems to write and record more songs in 3 years than most bands do in 10, he’s delivering them with unbelievable quality, and has yet to steer us wrong.
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"Curse of Blood"
"The Road To Destruction"
"Guardians of the Oath"
"Kingdom of Madness"
4.6/5 or 92%.
Written by Scott