January 22, 2023
Photo: by Channel 9 Studio

I’m sure we all know the name of Ronnie Romero so there is really no need to run through his story again but the dynamic singer has certainly been prolific since finding fame with Lords Of Black, The Ferrymen, Sunstorm and, of course, Rainbow. It is less than a year since he put out the rather splendid Raised On Radio which was a thoroughly enjoyable romp through the catalogue of bands and songs that held great significance for Romero and led him towards the stellar rock career than he now enjoys. Raised On Heavy Radio can be considered as a companion release or Part 2 of Raised On Radio and Romero and band do exactly what it says on the label as this time it is heavier, louder and certainly more brash.

A quick glance at the track list below will show a superb collection of some truly great metal tracks and a couple of surprises too as Romero shows just how great a vocalist he is by serving up a heady selection of classics from Deep Purple, Manowar, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Accept, Ozzy Osbourne, Black Sabbath, Rainbow, Masterplan, Yngwie Malmsteen and Metallica and how can that not inspire and excite. As with the first compilation album Romero has brought in some very special guests with guitarists Chris Caffery, Gus G., Roland Grapow, Nozomu Wakai and Alfredo Alonso with Corina Minda returning on backing vocals. I know some people are not so keen on these type of releases but for others it is great to hear different versions of very familiar songs and, let’s be fair, Ronnie Romero has the pipes to cover just about any heavy metal standard with style and ease. It’s effectively the same band too with Javi Garcia (bass), Andy C (drums) and Alessandro Del Vecchio (keyboards) reprising their roles with the mercurial guitarist Jose Rubio replacing Srdjan Brankovic.

The choice of material is inspired with a great cover of Priest’s Turbo Lover and to tackle the awesome Light in The Black is a very brave choice but the band pulls it of beautifully with their sensitive, inspired and truly rocking version. It’s nice to see the awesome Masterplan featuring and involving Roland Grapow is a nice touch too and the version of Hallowed Be Thy Name sends a shiver down your back. To be fair, the choice of The Shining from Sabbath’s Eternal Idol album is not one that I would have expected but Romero’s version is sheer class and has made me want to return to Eternal Idol which is an album I haven’t played in some time. It’s a real surprise too just how much his voice suits Accept’s Fast As A Shark but I guess that there are very few metal songs out there that this fabulous Chilean vocalist cannot enhance! There isn’t a bad track on the album and each is treated with reverence and the band has a great deal of fun as they give each song a little twist that goes some way towards making them their own.

Special praise must go to the guitar work of Jose Rubio and he and the guest make this a real guitar masterclass over which the one and only Ronnie Romero further enhances his reputation which soars with every album he is involved with. Both Raised On Radio records are very worthy releases and to ignore them is to miss out on some truly great hard rock but the choice of material and performance on this new album is superior in every way and is most highly recommended. The songs are excellent and performances equally impressive and with Romero in total command then you really need to have this album in your collection.

Raised On Heavy Radio

  1. The Battle Rages On (Deep Purple) (6:02)
  2. Metal Daze (Manowar) (4:22)
  3. Turbo Lover (Judas Priest) (5:31)
  4. Hallowed Be Thy Name (Iron Maiden) (7:15)
  5. Fast As A Shark (Accept) (3:30)
  6. No More Tears (Ozzy Osbourne) (7:27)
  7. The Shining (Black Sabbath) (6:23)
  8. A Light In The Black (Rainbow) (8:14)
  9. Kind Hearted Light (Masterplan) (4:26)
  10. You Don’t Remember, I’ll Never Forget (Yngwie Malmsteen) (4:31)
  11. The Four Horsemen (Metallica) (7:08)
  12. Turbo Lover (Alternate Solo Version) (Judas Priest) digital bonus track (5:31)

Raised On Heavy Radio is out now on Frontiers Records