SUN RED SUN
Sun Red Sun - Sun Set (Crook'd Records) 1999
Being a fan of Ray Gillen and Badlands, I knew it was only a matter of time before I would get something by Sun Red Sun. Surprisingly, S.R.S. sounds nothing like what I expected. Badlands is heavy but with a bluesy vibe. Sun Red Sun is not bluesy at all, but rather straight forward metal, with some surprisingly heavy songs. Some of the material even borders on speed metal. Several of these songs were partially penned by ex-Anthrax vocalist Joey Belladonna, so I guess it should not be to surprising. Apparently guitarist/band founder Al Romano was in Joey's band in some incarnation. Aside from the decent songwriting, what makes these discs for me is the voice of Ray Gillen. The man was an incredible talent. It's such a shame he died at such a young age.
This boxset, Sunset, contains all 3 Sun Red Sun CD releases (Sun Red Sun, Ray Gillen - 5th Anniversary Tribute, and Lost Tracks) and contains every track the band ever recorded. These recordings feature such notable musicians as Ray Gillen (Badlands/Black Sabbath) and John West (Royal Hunt, Artension) on vocals, Al Romano (Belladonna) on guitar, Mike Starr (Alice in Chains) and John McCoy (Gillan) on bass, and Bobby Rondinelli (Rainbow, Black Sabbath, Blue Oyster Cult) on drums. Other musicians appearing include Chris Caffery from Savatage.
Disc one is the original Sun Red Sun release which features Ray's vocals on about half the songs. According to the liner notes, Ray sang all the songs originally but after his death, Al Romano decided, on the advice of a manager, to re-record the songs with a new singer. Enter John West, who apparently was also with Badlands for a short time after Ray left. Discs two and three are both outtakes from these recording sessions, as well as a few live tracks and some other fluff. "The Hawaiians" for instance is a hilarious phone conversation the band had with an Electrolux phone saleswoman. "Chillin With Gillen" is just some studio nonsense with Gillen talking about his car. Other than that rest of the material is all different takes on 'real' songs. The band shows their sense of humor on songs like "Heavy Metal Cowboys." The two live tracks on "Lost Tracks" feature John West on vocals and seem to be recorded live in the studio.