Redwest – Crimson Renegade (Bakerteam Records)Tuesday, 9th February 2016
This Italian act pull out all the stops to strive for originality in a metal world where most believe every type of sub-category or genre bending to each light to heavy extreme is already out there. Redwest perform their own brand of spaghetti western metal on their self-produced debut full length Crimson Renegade. Cue the tumble weeds, smoke machines, and sand rolling against the band’s red leather stage clothes, cowboy hats, and goggles with occasional use of gas masks. Different for sure – you only wonder if the band can convince others to join the way back machine or will Redwest be satisfied in cultivating a smaller audience through niche appeal?
They have a song that’s a little heavier in terms of guitar effects for “C.F.H.”, but wisely choose to use initials lest people think this ‘cowboys from hell’ track is a Pantera cover – the mid-range vocal harmonies having more to do with folk bands than anything that aggressive. Acoustics intertwine with electric instrumentation, as if riding your favorite horse into the sunset at the end of a country movie – “The Ballad of Eddie W” typifying their swinging, comfortable aural environment. The better material to these ears has a little bit more of a fiery energy while combining outside elements like handclaps or vocal harmonies – “Bullet Rain” the best of the bunch, as the second half of the album contains a variety of folk/old country-type ballads featuring harmonicas, violins, and stripped down instrumentation that while setting a proper atmosphere, veers askew from anything remotely ‘metal’.
In 44 minutes, Crimson Renegade sets itself apart much like Van Canto or Dezperadoz as far as unique – but could be a tough sell for the middle of the road crowd who isn’t likely to veer from their comfort zones in metal tastes. At least Redwest isn’t attempting to clone Dream Theater or Rhapsody (Of Fire), and who knows where future platters will go.