The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world







For those of you in the know Derek is of course the vocalist with eighties rockers Babylon AD who do still get together and play the occasional show every now and then. He was also the vocalist with the underappreciated American Blues Box project that followed Babylon AD early nineties departure from their label.


You can check out our interview with Derek from earlier in the month by CLICKING HERE


Opening track 'Re-Volt' is a driving rocker with a relentless beat that comes across both sounding strangely familiar and new at the same time. It’s a song that lays down one of the template sounds Derek has created here and isn’t a million miles away from latter-day Cult (Derek even has a hint of Ian Astbury in the voice here and there) meets Babylon AD. ‘Tied Down and Hammered’ a couple of tracks later has a very similar feel to it but if anything is an even better song. 


A few tracks in and ‘Troubadour’s Spanish-style acoustic construction really showcases Derek’s voice and comes as a stark contract to the bombastic opening to the album, but as a ballad you can’t help but feel it is lacking that big hook to take it from nice to truly memorable. Compared to the other lighter numbers ‘The Promise’ and ‘Desperate’ it’s the poor cousin. In fact ‘The Promise’ comes as a real surprise, again with that Spanish tinge to it, but a far more interesting song with an almost latter-day Ray Davies (The Kinks) vibe to it.     


Elsewhere the album is a mixture of pounding modern rock and more traditional hard rock and whilst at times you might feel a certain lack of cohesion I think that is largely excusable when you realise that the revolution Derek is talking about is the freedom to put out an album that comes from the heart and soul rather than make something that sits easy and would fare well in the stinking sea that makes up the majority of the music business majors these days.


Where the album really works though is on tracks like ‘American Jihad’ where you feel that Derek has thought to himself ‘forget the rules I’m just going to do what feels right rather than try to write songs I think will shift units or win me points’ and the resulting funk meets hard rock fusion is one of the highlights here for me.


In fact the song that follows: ‘Hollywood Heartbreak’ keeps the water on the boil. It may be standard hard-rock fare but it’s a great song with a great riff and nice refrain that is as probably as close to Babylon AD as we get here. It’s one of the songs here that makes you want more.


There’s very little not to like here though and whilst personally I don’t like the rap interlude on ‘Bad Man Cometh’ that’s just my general dislike of rap which is one of those musical styles that had the artistic merit to last two minutes but still lingers years later like a bad smell.


What I do like though is the end to this album, which plays out strong: particularly with the pounding ‘Judas Kiss’; which leaves no prisoners and the catchy hard rock of ‘I Love U 2 Death’ and the wonderful ‘Love Star’ which is definitely one of my favorites here.


Final track ‘Desperate’ the song that first appeared on Babylon A.D.’s debut is in my opinion quite simply one of my favourite songs ever and a song that personally means a lot to me. Here Derek has done what you always hope artists will do when they rework their best moments: treat them with respect and add something. So if you never got to hear one of the greatest rock ballads ever written, do yourself a favour and pick up this CD.


This is a brave album in that it doesn’t strive to tick any boxes, or play the game. It’s something that strikes you as deeply personal and heartfelt and it wins despite its flaws and that sort of refreshing honesty doesn’t get laid down that often these days. Re-Volt may not be the Babylon AD by numbers that some might have wanted or expected but this is a fine album and if you want to hear more then vote with your feet and stick your hand in your pocket.


Well done Mr Davis






By Mark Diggins