When Kris Barras came roaring out of the traps in 2016 with his sublime debut album Lucky 13, he wrapped a massive comfort blanket around those who might have thought that British rock was losing its mojo.
Kris Barras Band – Death Valley Paradise (Mascot Records)
Release Date: 4 March 2022
Words: Brian Boyle
Since then, he’s continued to make his presence felt with two more bangers in Light It Up and The Divine And Dirty and a Best New Band award by Planet Rock Radio. The Devon-born Barras also became the frontman of Supersonic Blues Machine, a heavy loaded supergroup featuring well-travelled legends like Billy Gibbons, Steve Lukather and Walter Trout.
Death Valley Paradise sees Barras open his door to co-writing, which got him sharing his pen with a proven bunch such as Zac Maloy (Shinedown, Tyler Bryant), Bob Marlette (Alice Cooper, Airbourne) and conceiving half the album with Blair Daly (Halestorm, Black Stone Cherry).
And any thought of that raucous Barras edge being diluted as a result are quickly put to bed with the pummeling opener Dead Horses, a good old fashioned three and a half minute-er that really bears its teeth. Long Gone follows much the same formula with a big sexy chorus taking extended residence in your ears.
There’s no quarter given on the middle finger raising My Parade with a defiant Barras not mincing his words as he delivers not giving a fuck by the bucketload.
Death Valley Paradise was produced by Liverpool-born Dan Weller, who brought out the best in those rebellious Canadians Monster Truck on their shin kicking album True Rockers, and he’s done an equally impressive job here. The sound is big and brash and never overcooked.
Tracks like the steely Devil You Know and the punchy Hostage are slick compositions that could’ve easily been tarted up for commercial gain, but instead, they’re dripping in raw sophistication.
Cigarettes And Gasoline is as bare-knuckled as the title suggests, with the superb Barras band burning rock ‘n’ roll fumes with every power chord. To leave one of the strongest tracks till the sharp end of the album shows the mammoth quality pulsing through this album.
The ridiculously catchy Chaos hooks you in on the first listen with those wide appealing hardened melodic tones, the kind that’s become Shinedown’s bread and butter and afford them support slots with Metal legends Iron Maiden.
And that’s exactly the status of company that Barras and co should be mixing with on the strength of this album.
Death Valley Paradise is by far the most enduring work to date from the former MMA cage fighter whose punches are hitting harder with each release.
Death Valley Paradise is available from smarturl.it/KBB.
Death Valley Paradise
1. Dead Horses
2. Long Gone
3. My Parade
4. These Voices
5. Who Needs Enemies
6. Devil You Know
7. Wake Me When It’s Over
9. Cigarettes and Gasoline
10. Bury Me