(The End)

01. Favourite Sin
02. The Ending
03. Sacrifice
04. Badlands
05. Trouble Begins
06. Bruce Willis
07. Falling
08. A Thousand Times
09. One More Taste
10. What's Left of Me
11. Promises
12. Sacrifice (acoustic version)
13. Wakeup (bonus track)

RATING: 7.5/10

From across the pond comes a British, Irish, Scot and Welsh union with a strong urge to rock out, mostly American style. These lads' ancestors probably could never have fathomed such a merger, but CAGE THE GODS have a common affinity for melodic blues and hard rock that transcends any carryover territorial divisions. Following their "Favourite Sin" EP comes CAGE THE GODS' debut full-length, "Badlands", an album with energy and flair on its side if not much in the originality department. This at least spells a good time for party animals, workout addicts and rockers who prefer things simple.

Citing AC/DC, BON JOVI and GUNS N' ROSES as primary influences, "Badlands" sounds more like an amalgam of BLACK CROWES, TESLA, BUCKCHERRY and at-times, modern proto rock. The amusing "Bruce Willis" does carry a note-picking swagger and heady hum like AC/DC, but for the most part, "Badlands" is not too far off from the ill-fated hard rock band of the same name once led by Jake E. Lee.

The up-tempo ballad "Falling" is sure to pull on a few heartstrings of the ladies within Peter Comerford's projection. Comerford has all the confidence and ranges needed to fuel CAGE THE GODS, considering their song structures are often repetitive and reliant upon dense chord chuffs between "The Ending", "Sacrifice", "One More Taste" and even the bonus track, "Wakeup". To the good, however, the songs are focused and rhythmic and Comerfield sounds major league overtop them.

For that matter, guitarist Jam is a superstar in the making, throwing down an intricate sequence of notes and fades through the finale of "One More Taste", while weaving a tasty twelve-string acoustic and scorching electric solo on the album's other ballad, "What's Left of Me". Jam's sprinkling guitar lines on the verses of "Promises" are reminiscent of The Edge and even the song's vibrating drive feels like long-ago U2 until the distortion pedals are stamped upon the socked-out choruses.

The closing bars of "A Thousand Times" is one of the more inspired moments of the album as Peter Comerford implores "save me, stop waiting, save me from myself" after singing about sellouts and barely hanging on through endless aspiration, a recurring lyrical theme on the album. His appealing pipes nearly overshadow the inherent despair and implied self-destruction on "Badlands", but true to the spirit of a good frontman, Comerford sells the whole thing like a well-sung rock 'n' roll ringmaster.

There's plenty of oomph and talent in this band to give them a listen regardless of the numerous comparables that come up while spinning "Badlands". The dressed-up acoustic version of "Sacrifice" is spiffy and Mitch Witham and Colin Jones make a solid rhythm section that gives this band its pulse. In the Eighties, CAGE THE GODS would've been a guaranteed hit, but their devotion as younger gen throwback rock party hosts is merely a curiosity in today's jaded market.


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