Acoustic, Happy, Old School
"If Ugly Kid Joe continues to do as he pleases, he won't make "Rad Wings Of Destiny" a must-have album in spite of his multiple tributes to his idols."
LOLOCELTIC (24.11.2022)  
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If he benefits from a real sympathy within the hard rock and metal community, Ugly Kid Joe owes it almost solely to his first opus, "America's Least Wanted" (1992) and to his interplanetary hit, 'Everything About You'. Whether it's the two albums that followed, or the ones released since the reformation of the Californian quintet in 2010, none of these opuses has been what is commonly called a success. New attempt of the dirty boy Joe to recover his former glory, "Rad Wings Of Destiny" sees the return of Mark Dodson as producer, thirty years after the legendary first album, as well as that of the drummer Shannon Larkin who intervenes nevertheless only as a guest on several tracks. Another participant in the party, the Australian guitarist Jeff Curran of Dallas Frasca and playing partner of Whitfield Crane within Yellow Cake.

With his title parodying the one of Judas Priest's second opus ("Sad Wings Of Destiny" - 1976), the newcomer seems to want to insist on the band's playful side and the visual of the cover also goes back to the beginnings of this band of buddies who don't want to take themselves seriously. The problem is that the surprise effect of the beginnings disappeared and that the artistic interest also faded away. And I might as well say it right away, despite its overall quality, "Rad Wings Of Destiny" will not reverse the trend.

Divided between unconcealed tributes to its glorious elders on one side and a bunch of calm and electroacoustic tracks on the other, this opus triggers sympathy once again and proves to be quite pleasant to listen to but it lacks of dynamism with only three tracks that are punchy. And still, 'That Ain't Livin' and 'Failure' are so much copied from AC/DC that they sound like covers. On the other hand, 'Dead Friends Play' is a 70's hard rock song that also pays tribute to the band's idols through lyrics quoting Black Sabbath, Van Halen and... AC/DC. The rest sometimes shows a beautiful melancholy ('Everything's Changing', 'Kill The Pain') or plays it like a bunch of friends around a campfire with country accents ('Drinkin' And Drivin') but it forgets too often to plug the electricity to catch the attention. To note nevertheless the very glam 70's 'Not Like The Other' refreshing and reminding Sweet and T-Rex.

Finally, Ugly Kid Joe continues to do what he wants and to do it well, which makes this album an honest and endearing product. But all this is nevertheless insufficient compared to the requirements that a certain opus released three decades ago gave rise to. It will be obviously difficult to be negative with "Rad Wings Of Destiny" and with its progenitors, but how far it seems the time when the Californians were at the same time insolent, powerful, percussive and catchy...

More informations on

01. That Ain't Livin' - 4:17
02. Not Like The Other - 4:35
03. Everything's Changing - 4:40
04. Kill The Pain - 3:56
05. Lola (cover The Kinks) - 4:02
06. Dead Friends Play - 3:41
07. Up In The City - 4:50
08. Drinkin' And Drivin' - 2:23
09. Failure - 4:35
10. Long Road - 3:33

Cordell Crockett: Basse
Dave Fortman: Guitares
Klaus Eichstadt: Guitares
Whitfield Crane: Chant
Zac Morris: Batterie
Chris Catalyst: Guitares / Invité
Jeff Curran: Guitares / Invité / Banjo
Shannon Larkin: Batterie / Invité
Sonny Mayo : Guitares / Invité
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