KANE ROBERTS - Saints & Sinners [2CD ltd. Edition] (2012)
When KANE ROBERSTS, the muscle-bound guitarist best known for slinging the axe for Alice Cooper (on the legendary Constrictor and Raise Your Fist and Yell albums) released this solo effort back in ‘91, he created one of the greatest Melodic Hard Rock albums the genre has ever seen.
Even to this day, "Saints & Sinners" has rarely been rivaled and remains a near-flawless example of how to craft a hook-drenched ear candy.
Twenty-one years later, this classic album sounds just as good as it did back then. Actually, it sounds better. Because reissue specialists Yesterrock have gotten their mitts on it, given it a spiffy remastering, and released it back onto the market in a limited edition version (only 500 copies) that includes four unreleased bonus tracks on an extra disc.
"Saints & Sinners" is an over the top commercial Melodic Hard Rock album. Someone told Roberts and company that bigger is better and they decided that if bigger is better, than massive and huge were the only way to go, and go that way they did.
The hooks are not merely big, they are humongous, and they are legion. The choruses are monstrous sing-along anthems that soar so high they bump their heads on Heaven’s basement and every one of them is slathered in wall-of-sound harmony vocals that provide the knockout punch, the coup de grace.
Take all that and toss in the terrific guitar playing of Roberts and you have the sort of stuff melodic hard rock wet dreams are made of.
The album opens with "Wild Nights" and with its call to arms chorus and amazing melodies you just know this album will not let you down.
This is quickly followed by the killer "Twisted" and then by the Jon Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora, Diane Warren and Desmond Child written track "Does Anybody Really Fall In Love Anymore?" which has also been recorded by Cher and demoed by Bon Jovi for possible inclusion on the 'New Jersey' album. This song still sends shivers down my spine to this day.
The rest of the tracks maintain the high quality, as the masterclass in MR/AOR which is "Rebel Heart", the rowdy "You Always Want It", the kick ass "Fighter" (title says all) or the melodic bliss in the mid-tempo "It's Only Over For You".
Now onto the main selling point of this reissue for me, which are the bonus tracks on the extra CD.
First up is "House Burning Down" and this is a mid paced melodic rocker with great vibe. It doesn't hold a candle to the main album tracks, but the chorus has a good hook plenty of big '80-style backing vocals and Roberts absolutely rips it up on the solo.
Second bonus track is the rocker with a poppy feel "Waiting For You", which while being cool has some differences in sound and a demo smell.
"Dirty Blonde" on the other hand happens to be the best of the bonuses, a vintage commercial rockin' tune with catchy hooks and a sing-along chorus spiced up with smooth harmonies and gang backups.
"White Trash" is a cool rocker with some eighties Alice Cooper hints and a kind of Van Halen's 'Finish What Ya Started' swagger to it and a fine chorus.
Given how great "Saints & Sinners" sounded back then, the remastering doesn’t significantly improve the quality. But even a diamond benefits from a little polish once in a while, and on this new version the sound gain is better and more dynamic than the '91 CD. And now you have the previously unreleased tracks.
The solid songwriting talent combined with Roberts’ stellar guitar skills and the impeccable production from Sir Arthur Payson created something magical in this album, as said, a true Melodic Hard rock gem.
If you have ignored this masterpiece in the genre for all these years, then this is an absolutely essential purchase. For those who already own and love this album this is like an upgrade and therefore the one to own.
01 - Wild Nights
02 - Twisted
03 - Does Anybody Really Fall In Love Anymore?
04 - Dance Little Sister
05 - Rebel Heart
06 - You Always Want It
07 - Fighter
08 - I'm Not Lookin' For An Angel
09 - Too Far Gone
10 - It's Only Over For You
01 - House Burning Down (prev. unreleased)
02 - Waiting For You (prev. unreleased)
03 - Dirty Blonde (prev. unreleased)
04 - White Trash (prev. unreleased)
Kane Roberts: Vocals, Guitars, Keyboards
Steve Steele: Bass, Vocals
Victor Ruzzo: Drums, Vocals