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Kris Barras Band: Death Valley Paradise

With his previous album, Light It Up, guitarist and hard rockin’ blues slinger Kris Barras catapulted himself into the sphere of UK contenders, with his live shows not only living up to the album’s billing but enhancing its reputation. Three years down the line Barras appears to be angrier and hungrier than before, Death Valley Paradise hitting like an attitude packed, if much more straight ahead, slap of riffed up rock. Gone would appear to be much of the blues influences, or at least they seem to be buried under the eagerness to go for the throat and in many ways, to me, it actually makes this latest offering from the one-time cage fighter a much tamer beast.

Now also a lynchpin in Supersonic Blues Machine with drummer Kenny Aronoff and bassist Fabrizio Grossi, Barras also has some high profile collaborators at hand when it comes to penning his songs, Blair Daly, who has worked with Black Stone Cherry, respected producer Bob Marlette, Zac Maloy (Shinedown) and Jonny Andrews (Three Days Grace) all lending their weight. However, with the likes of “These Voices”, “Dead Horses” and “Long Gone” given an almost overt production sheen, I can’t help but be taken to places that bands and artists like Def Leppard, or Bryan Adams would if they stamped on the distortion pedal just a little harder. That in itself is not a bad thing and some of the choruses, such as that on “Who Needs Enemies”, are still big, memorable anthem makers. It’s just that from where he’s come from, Kris Barras always felt like he would grow into a star on his own terms, whereas some of Death Valley Paradise feels like a compromise, and not one that enhances what he had going for him before.

Truth be told, I’m being harsh here, but with previous high standards comes expectations and my hopes for this album were through the roof. From someone else I might be telling you that this is a solid, promising effort crammed with straight up rock to get your party started - and it is. However, that’s not really what I wanted from Kris Barras - or maybe more pertinently, it’s not all I wanted from him. Death Valley Paradise undoubtedly delivers that kind of fare in spades and it’s good fun as it does so, but for me, way too much of this album is just a little forgettable, and that right there feels like a backwards step and then some.

Track Listing
1. Dead Horses

2. Long Gone

3. My Parade

4. These Voices

5. Who Needs Enemies

6. Devil You Know

7. Wake Me When It’s Over

8. Hostage

9. Cigarettes and Gasoline

10. Bury Me

11. Chaos

Added: April 2nd 2022
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Kris Barras band online
Hits: 220
Language: english

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