Friday, June 6, 2014

BABYLON AD "Lost Sessions/Fresno, CA 93"

(c) 2014 Perris Records

  1. Love Blind
  2. While America Sleeps
  3. Love Is A Mystery
  4. Bang Go The Bells (re-recording)
Derek Davis--Vocals
Ron Freschi--Guitars
Dan De La Rosa--Guitars
Robb Reid--Bass
John Pacheco--Drums

Believe it or not, 24 years have passed since Babylon A.D. unleashed their self-titled, debut EP upon the hard rock world, and the band has decided that now is as good a time as any to reunite and give it another spin, with several live dates scheduled for 2014.  In preparation for that, the band has released this little EP from 1993, simply called Lost Sessions/Fresno, CA 93.  From what I understand, Davis had actually held onto these session tapes for quite some time...only to forget he had them...and then find them again.  They were cleaned up a bit, put on CD, and voila, here you go!  New Babylon A.D....sorta....

What we have here are three new songs and a re-worked version of "Bang Go The Bells" from the debut album.  I can state without hesitation that all three of the new songs sound a LOT more like what people had come to expect from Babylon A.D. than anything that actually appeared on the band's follow-up album, which I had a hard time swallowing outside of a couple of tracks.   

The opening track sounds to me like it was possibly a song that had been written for the debut, but just didn't make the final cut for whatever reason.  Solid guitar work and Davis' vocals carry this song which features a simple, yet catchy chorus and a tasty little guitar solo.  "While America Sleeps" is another solid rocker that, again, has that same feel as the debut disc, finding Davis reaching up into the higher reaches of his vocal range on a couple of screams, while plumbing the lower ranges for much of the verse work here.  Good stuff, to be sure!

"Love Is A Mystery" finds that band slipping into lighter-raising ballad territory.  Definitely a track in the "power ballad" style, "Love Is A Mystery" is a solid, if not overly original song with a soulful guitar solo and nicely emotive vocals.  There is also a teased false ending that leads into some more great tandem guitar work, which I love.  Nice touch!  This is a decent song, but as far as Babylon A.D. ballads go, I far prefer "Desperate" off the debut record.  For me, though, Babylon A.D. was always better when they were cranked up full-throttle, so perhaps I am a bit biased on this track.

I am not really sure why the band had decided to re-record "Bang Go The Bells" just three short years after the original was out, but I will say that I prefer the original.   Not to say this is a bad version, but I would say 99% of the time I am going to choose the original over a re-recording, and this is no exception.  If you have never heard the original, then you may end up liking this version better; I'm guessing it is going to be whichever version you attach nostalgia to that is going to end up being your favorite.

This was limited to just a couple thousand CD pressings, so it may be out of print already.  You can check to see if any are still available.  If so, I'd definitely recommend snagging this little gem to round out your Babylon A.D. collection and to get it signed as the band is out and about this summer.

Rating:  While short, this EP is still crank-worthy.  Crank it to 7, held back by the duration (about 20 minutes) and the fact that only three of these songs are new.

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